City of bridges: 14 man-made crossings within a mile’s radius of Edinburgh Castle

The city centre of Edinburgh sits atop a dramatic landscape of ancient volcanic plugs, river-cut ravines and glacier-carved valleys that has formed over many millions of years.

Tuesday, 28th May 2019, 1:37 pm
IR20150417. 17/04/15. TSPL Shift, General view of the Scotsman Hotel, the former offices of the Scotsman newspaper on North Bridge Edinburgh. Picture Ian Rutherford


©Ian Rutherford 
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IR20150417. 17/04/15. TSPL Shift, General view of the Scotsman Hotel, the former offices of the Scotsman newspaper on North Bridge Edinburgh. Picture Ian Rutherford ©Ian Rutherford [email protected] www.ianrutherfordphotography.com 07710337520

These obstacles have necessitated the construction of numerous man-made bridges that traverse Edinburgh’s unique topography and stitch the Scottish capital together. From the creation of the first crossings over the meandering Water of Leith to the construction of the original North Bridge in the 1770s, we take a look at more than a dozen bridges to be found within a mile’s radius of Edinburgh Castle.

The original North Bridge was constructed between 1763 and 1772 in order to connect the Old Town of Edinburgh to the New Town which was being built to the North. This first stone bridge was replaced by the current structure in 1897.
One of Edinburgh's newer bridges, this footbridge was constructed in the late 1990s to help bridge the gap over the West Approach Road and connect Edinburgh's growing financial district.

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Built in 1906, the Leamington Lift Bridge spans the Union Canal at Fountainbridge. It was originally located over Fountainbridge itself at the present day Lochrin Basin.
The current Waverley Bridge was built between 1894 and 1896 and forms part of the roof of the present railway station.
Situated in the heart of the picturesque Dean Village, Bell's Brae Bridge was built in the 18th century.
The current stone-built "Stock Bridge" crossing dates from 1801 and spans the Water of Leith.
The current three-arch Canonmills Bridge over the Water of Leith replaced a much older stone structure in 1840.
George IV Bridge spans the Cowgate and links the Old Town of Edinburgh to the south at Greyfriar's Kirkyard. It was built by esteemed architect Thomas Hamilton who famously designed the Old Royal High School on Regent Road.
Spanning King's Stable's Road and linking Johnston Terrace with Castle Street, the King's Bridge dates from 1833.
Dating from 1829, the impressive Dean Bridge spans a vast ravine between the New Town and the Dean Village. The beautiful Water of Leith flows underneath far below.
Constructed under the direction of Robert Stevenson, the elegantly-designed Regent Bridge links Princes Street to the east and was officially opened in 1819 during the visit of Prince Leopold of Saxe Coburg.
A trio of former railway bridges spans the West Approach Road. These originally conveyed traffic over the lines leading to Edinburgh's long since demolished Princes Street Station.
The railway bridge at New Street also covers part of Calton Road and carries rail traffic to and from Waverley Station.
Last but not least is South Bridge, which, dating from 1785, is one of the city's oldest surviving bridges. Only one of its seventeen arches - the Cowgate arch - is visible, with the rest obscured by centuries of development.