Scotland’s great city parks: Inverleith

The view from Inverleith Park.  Picture:  Neil Hanna

The view from Inverleith Park. Picture: Neil Hanna

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IT MAY not be as famous as its next door neighbour, but Inverleith Park has provided an oasis of greenery in the heart of Edinburgh for more than a century.

The attractive inner suburb of Inverleith commands some of the most expensive property prices anywhere in the country.

Inverleith Park is home to a variety of mature trees. Picture: Cate Gillon/TSPL

Inverleith Park is home to a variety of mature trees. Picture: Cate Gillon/TSPL

The area’s popularity is boosted by the extensive landscaped parkland on its doorstep.

It was first transformed in 1820 when the Royal Botanic Garden relocated from Leith Walk to a site adjacent to Inverleith Row, where it has remained ever since.

The local greenspace was further enhanced in 1889 when South Inverleith Mains Farm was purchased by the town council from the Rocheid family, which had owned the wider Inverleith estate since the 17th century.

Fields soon became 54 acres of parkland, and the area was renamed Inverleith Park and opened to the public.

Boys sailing yachts on Inverleith Pond  Edinburgh.

Boys sailing yachts on Inverleith Pond Edinburgh.

The new park boasted an ornamental pond, tree-lined avenues, extensive space for allotments and playing fields for local sports teams - all of which survive today.

The Cockburn Association, founded in 1875 to protect Edinburgh’s architectural heritage, registered its approval in 1891 of Inverleith’s opening.

“The city is to be congratulated on the acquisition and opening of this magnificent park which will form in all time coming, and however the city may extend, an open space of unrivalled beauty.”

A Friends of Inverleith Park group was formed in 2002 and became a registered charity in 2006.

The gates at the entrance to Inverleith Park. The greenspace was once farm land until it was purchased by the city council in 1889. Picture: Scott Louden/TSPL

The gates at the entrance to Inverleith Park. The greenspace was once farm land until it was purchased by the city council in 1889. Picture: Scott Louden/TSPL

It now has a membership of around 300 and actively campaigns for the protection and enhancement of the parkland.

Inverleith hosts a variety of community gatherings throughout the year, as well as occasionally hosting prestigious commercial events such as Taste of Edinburgh.

The views of the wider city are another of the park’s major selling points. People congregate in their hundreds to enjoy the annual firework displays at Edinburgh Castle to mark New Year and the end of the Edinburgh festival.

It’s little wonder Inverleith is held in such affection by so many.

The avenue of trees in Inverleith is a popular walking route. Picture: Scott Louden/TSPL

The avenue of trees in Inverleith is a popular walking route. Picture: Scott Louden/TSPL

Inverleith Park

Edinburgh

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Children playing on the inflatables at the Scottish International Children's Festival held in Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, May 1992.

Children playing on the inflatables at the Scottish International Children's Festival held in Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, May 1992.

The pond at Inverleith Park is home to swans, ducks and a variety of other wildlife. Picture: Cate Gillon/TSPL

The pond at Inverleith Park is home to swans, ducks and a variety of other wildlife. Picture: Cate Gillon/TSPL

Girls from Granada engineering line up to start the Evening News Fun Run in Inverleith Park Edinburgh, February 1978.

Girls from Granada engineering line up to start the Evening News Fun Run in Inverleith Park Edinburgh, February 1978.

Youngster Julie Watson joins Zimbabwe dancers Precious and Claudia for a traditional African dance at the International Children's Theatre Festival in Inverleith Park Edinburgh, May 1990.

Youngster Julie Watson joins Zimbabwe dancers Precious and Claudia for a traditional African dance at the International Children's Theatre Festival in Inverleith Park Edinburgh, May 1990.

A view of children sledging in Inverleith Park in Edinburgh.

A view of children sledging in Inverleith Park in Edinburgh.

A girl sings at a talent contest in Inverleith Park, Edinburgh.

A girl sings at a talent contest in Inverleith Park, Edinburgh.