The Trust

Founded in 1988, the Water of Leith Conservation Trust’s mission is to conserve and enhance the Water of Leith as a haven for biodiversity and be an educational and recreational resource for all. As Scotland’s first river charity and guardians of the river, we strive to raise the profile of this key environmental asset and promote community action to help the river.

The Water of Leith Conservation Trust is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee (Charity Number SC000015, Company Number SC114294).

The Trust’s objectives are to conserve the Water of Leith and its environs, promote the natural and built heritage of the river, advance education and benefit the community, by:

  • Raising awareness of the river.
  • Providing teaching and learning services for all age groups.
  • Operating the Water of Leith Visitor Centre as an educational visitor attraction and community resource.
  • Encouraging the protection and enhancement of biodiversity along the river and its environs.
  • Enabling volunteers and the public to take practical action to conserve and enhance the natural and built environment.
  • Encouraging responsible access to, and recreational use of, the river and its walkway.
  • Promoting the sustainable use and management of the river.
  • Working in partnership with others.

In order to deliver the objectives, the Trust carries out the following:

  • Operates The Water of Leith Visitor Centre with its interactive exhibition, information point, café and retail areas, educational facilities and classroom, formal meeting room, external workshop and storage space.
  • Co-ordinates the activities of c.200 volunteers in the Visitor Centre and practical tasks.
  • Annually provides education services and outdoor learning for over 2000 school children and around 1300 community members.
  • Works in partnership with Edinburgh Council and others to manage the walkway, habitats and river clean-up activities, ensuring the protection and enhancement of biodiversity. responsible access to, and recreational use of, the river and its walkway.
  • Governed by a Board of eight Trustees and employs six staff.
  • Monitors and evaluates outputs and outcomes with a performance management and reporting framework to ensure the Trust is run effectively and efficiently in line with good governance, charity and other legislation, and good practice.


Annual Reports

Accounts & Administrative Documents

Policy Documents


Pat Dawson

Pat Dawson


It is a real privilege to write this as the Chair of the Water of Leith Conservation Trust. I am a nurse by profession and I have had a wonderful career in a range of health organisations, representing patients, representing nurses, national policy development and latterly as the Associate Nurse Director, NHS Lothian. I live close to the river and when I retired (very early!) volunteering on the river was a fabulous opportunity. Being experienced in committee work, and being a bit questioning, I was asked to become a Trustee! I now Chair the Trust and our wonderful team. I hope to continue to lead our organisation to be even more successful and greatly value all our staff and volunteers.

Tony Gray

Tony Gray


I started my own business at the age of 19 and retired 32 years later. Since 2008 I have volunteered for various charities including the Water of Leith Conservation Trust. I have always lived in Edinburgh and have enjoyed and appreciated the river over the years and am keen to help improve and maintain it in a condition for all to enjoy. My business and property background have been useful in my role as a trustee, helping to make the trust more self-supporting and efficient for the future.

Goff Cantley

I am a building pathologist by profession but after taking early retirement I have spent much of my time volunteering with various organisations involved in managing the natural environment. I bring a particular concern for the built environment to my role as a trustee, whether for our Visitor Centre or our Walkway with all its structural elements.

Charles Everitt

Charles Everitt

I am a retired Police officer having spent the last ten years of my service seconded to the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit. I am also a passionate nature photographer and base much of my work around the Water of Leith. As a former Water of Leith Fishery Officer, I am delighted to share my knowledge on criminal law, wildlife protection and angling with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust.

Karen Young

Karen Young

Having studied geography, then environmental science, at university and collecting a Diploma in Marketing along the way, I have spent my whole career working on environmental issues in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Defence and for a long time in Scottish Natural Heritage - now called NatureScot. I focus on projects, partnerships and funding so it has been a pleasure to put this into practice with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust as a Trustee for over 10 years.

Cordula Klein

I started volunteering with the Trust in 2007 and since then have done a little bit of everything -- from river patrols and clean-ups to sponsored walks and invasive species control. These days I mostly volunteer at the visitor centre café and exhibition space and help plan and execute fundraising events. I am a linguist by training and currently work for a speech technology company.