Stay in Touch

Type your email address in the box below to get our free email news updates:


Subscribe to our news feed

Join us

You can support the Water of Leith Conservation Trust by joining or making a donation.

Click here to join or click here to make a donation to the Trust.

Search This Site
What are you looking for?
Log in

Potty preparing for our Plant Sale on 5th May

We had all hands on deck this week potting up for the Plant Sale - we were donated over 1500 small plugs by Pentland Plants and volunteers have produced over 150 trays of geraniums, petunia, gazinias, fuchsias, Nicotiana, and busy lizzie's


Busy Weeks along the river and at the Centre - our life in pictures

We have had a busy couple of weeks at the Water of Leith Conservation Trust - the busy season has well a truly started - here are a selection of what staff and volunteers have been up to:

Field studies with Stirling University - sampling water quality in the Pentland and in the Dells - I know which site I would rather work at!!

Wonderful guided walk around Colinton on the trail of Robert Louis Stevenson with Colinton Community Conservation Trust

Shifting valuable wood to stop it from catching litter at Murrayfield and relocating it as habitat further upstream. 

 School classes from Trinity Primary, St Josephs Primary  and South Morningside Primary all enjoying Outdoor learning sessions

Great to see the wild garlic up - not so great to see the Giant Hogweed is also up - but we have a plan of attack for this spring with our volunteers and Napier University - details soon

Young volunteers efforts being Celebrated at the Scottish Parliament and SNH event to launch 2018 the year of young people - well-done Fern and Adam you were excellent ambassadors 

Oh and HAPPY EASTER - these were found on a clean-up of the river - nice looking good Charlotte!!


Another BIG haul at our Gorgie Clean-up last Sunday and notice of our Debris Discovery Day on 8th April - Join Us!!


Pulling a SAFE from the river and great to see Charlotte back in waders after the broken collarbone.


Easter Holiday Fun Event for Kids at the Visitor Centre 

CHILDREN'S SPRING EVENTS at the Visitor Centre
£5 per child & start at 2.00pm until 4.00pm. 
BOOKING ESSENTIAL  0131 455 7367 
Suitable for 4 to 12 year olds, Accompanying adult free.
Thursday 5th April – HUNT!!
Seek out animal tracks and trails along the river and in the woods!
Tuesday 10thApril – River Dipping
Put on your wellies and join us IN the river for this fun event
Thursday 12th April – SURVIVE!!  
Build a shelter, forage for food and learn to create fire.



Fishing Season opens on 1st April - get your flies and permits at the Visitor Centre plus an interesting article from the Fishery Officers

Wildlife Disturbance & The Law and You - by Nickol Stewardson - Volunteer Fishery Officer
Well it's that time of year again, spring is finally in the air and a new fishing season is almost upon us. With this in mind, it's worthwhile giving a thought to other creatures we share the river with, who are also preparing for the year ahead. Selecting nesting and bedding locations, throughout the riverside to give them and their young the best chance of survival.
Roughly twelve miles of the Water Of Leith flows through an urban environment and as such the wildlife that inhabits this area of the river puts up with human activity quite well. From anglers, dog-walkers, cyclists and interest groups, to name but a few. Needless to say that all of these activities can cause some level of disturbance to wildlife so it's worthwhile taking a few easy precautions to minimise disturbance that your chosen activity may cause. This primarily involves disturbance that may negatively affect the wildlife's nesting and bedding sites and also their food sources. Most wildlife species can actively adapt and find other food sources as long as activities that may affect this are not too widespread. Although when it comes to nesting and bedding sites it's a slightly different matter. As this can have an impact upon their ability to successfully raise their young.
In consideration of all this, we are very lucky to have a slowly growing population of otters present on the river, which were once a common site on many of the waterways in Scotland. Although never so much in big cities with pollution, hunting and lack of suitable habitats being the main causes in their decline and disappearance, preventing them establishing and holding territories. Over the last few decades most of these pressures have been reduced and removed allowing the otters and lots of other wildlife to gain footholds in territories where they have not been present in any great numbers if at all for a number of years. This has been due to changes in environmental law, education and a growing awareness amongst people who share and enjoy this great natural resource.
The main points of the law in summary, concerning the protection of otters under Regulation 39 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1994 (as amended) for consideration are as follows, it is a criminal offence to;
Damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place of an otter, or to
Deliberately or recklessly
Capture, injure or kill an otter
Disturb an otter while rearing or caring for it's young
Disturb an otter if likely to affect the local distribution or abundance of the species
The final point is particularly important, as it could be argued that any disturbance to an otter on the Water of Leith is likely to affect the “abundance of the species” due to the extremely low numbers of otters on the river. “Recklessly” effectively means that if you are aware of an otter (either by way of notice, verbal warning or actually encounter the animal etc.), and you still commit the offence then it can be construed to be reckless behaviour. A person can “disturb” an otter if they become aware of an otter's presence and do not withdraw to a safe distance to allow the otter to behave in a natural manner.
Another matter worth mentioning is that we received a few reports of fishing tackle being discarded on the river last season. If I could ask you to retrieve this, if spotted and when safe to do so, so it can then be disposed of responsibly. This should help in reducing any unnecessary impacts on wildlife and people.  I hope you find this information helpful and enjoy the fishing season when it begins on April 1st. Tight lines.