Friday
May112012

3 - Juniper Green

Juniper Green was first mentioned as a village in 1707, and may take its name from the juniper bushes growing on the Pentland slopes not far from here. The area was dominated by the Woodhall Estate which included The Woodhall Paper Board Mill dating from 1747. The mill occupied the site just upstream from here; if follow the low path upstream, you will see the large weir and its sluice gate.

Woodhall Bank Mills were also located here where they ground snuff and grain for a period of 170 years. Woodhall House, a 16th century residence, is found across the foot-bridge and up the hill. There is a connecting path which links walkers back to Currie along a higher level more scenic route.

The area was also home to another large mill, the Inglis Grain Mill, which worked drying grain under electric power until 2003. This was the last working mill on the Water of Leith. It was demolished to create the housing you see today just before you reach the busy City Bypass which roars above you as you pass under.

Beyond the bypass is the large and dramatic Mossy Mill Weir – with the mill owners attractive house visible on the opposite bank. Sadly the mill is long gone, replaced – yet again – by housing. Continuing along the walkway towards Colinton you will also pass Upper Spylaw Mill, one of Scotland's earliest papermills, built in 1682. Latterly it made snuff from about 1765. It had a colourful history at one time the top floor was an inn frequented by smugglers. The mill became a dairy, then a riding school, but today is a private residence.

The landscape from Balerno down here to Colinton feels very rural and the densely wooded banks of the river provide a wonderful and peaceful escape from the bustle of city life. Badgers and Roe deer are frequently spotted here and the spring and early summer wildflowers can be quite spectacular and rewarding. Look out for the next downstream audio point near Gillespie Bridge in Colinton.

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