Anyone familiar with the North Edinburgh Path Network will be aware that it is well used by walkers and cyclists. It has many access point, is well signposted and seems generally looked after.
The east of the city is less well served. There is a path which starts anonymously near the bottom of Easter Road (by Thorntreeside). Progress is seriously slowed by a very tight zig-zag barrier (which may well be illegal by current disability discrimination standards). A lot of the hedge (visible in Google) has disappeared under a new building site. The path continues to the new ramp at Hawkhill Avenue.
Here there is a new light controlled crossing being installed which will lead to the significant amount of new housing being built on the ‘Lochend Butterfly‘. No doubt some of the new residents – or ones from the recently completed development – would like to walk, cycle or jog along the path that continues to Seafield and loops back to Leith Links.
Sadly they probably won’t find the experience too pleasant – or one they would repeat frequently. Most of the route has never been tarmaced and the surface has gradually deteriorated and is quite muddy in places. Worse from an ‘amenity’ point of view is the amount of rubbish that has been blown into the surrounding grass and bushes.
Where the path ends at Seafield there is an intimidating flight of steps. This has been bypassed by users creating a precarious ramp down to Seafield Street. Across the main road is another path that provides an alternative to Seafield Road.
Of course there is no signage or any attempt (so far) to make this into a coherent Leith to Portobello cycle route. Last September Greener Leith organised a ride along the whole route from Leith (photos). Since then they have got the support of local councillors, and officials are looking into the cost of suitable upgrading.
Perhaps this will include the link to Easter Road. In the longer term when the refuse depot at Powderhall moves elsewhere (controversial!) the existing rail line should be replaced by a cyclepath – uniting Edinburgh’s north and east networks.