A former gas works site, ForthQuarter Park lies 4km from Edinburgh city centre, with stunning views across the Forth Estuary adjacent to the City’s greenbelt. The aim has been to create an ecologically robust landscape that supports the urban environment and responds to issues of climate, energy, drainage and ecology in a way that was sustainable for future generations. The ForthQuarter Park forms a large landscape area through the centre of the site that connects residents and workers of the local areas to the waterfront as well as linking with the greenbelt to the west and Caroline Park to the east.
The main concept of the scheme was to redirect the existing culverted water course through the park to create a wetland habitat and natural SUD’s environment which includes natural treatment systems such as grass swales, wet grassland detention basins, constructed wetlands and storm water disposal systems. Major existing landscape elements within the site were sensitively integrated into the design and enhanced.
Key objectives for the scheme were to:
– integrate into the existing community
– integrate into future masterplan developments for the wider area
– provide a new parkland setting linking adjacent landscape areas
– provide a green focus for the development
– provide a clear hierarchy of streets, spaces, pedestrian and cycle routes
– maximise the topography by creating vistas through the site
– develop an identifiable urban form with individual character
– create a sense of permeability
Approximate Map Location
Hyland Edgar Driver
National Grid Property Ltd
|Type of scheme||
Parks and gardens
Highly commended, Design over 5ha category, LI Awards 2010
To create a new city park that reflects the best characteristics of Edinburghs historical urban design - "a clear sense of the city and of the country" - a celebration of the built fabric and open spaces of the city, set within a spectacular natural landscape.
Architects: Foster and Partners
The Burn is opened up to form an impressive new water body and green swathe providing wetland and marginal habitats. The water body flows through the central valley within the park and culminates at the junction with a new public square. Waterside walks of bound gravel and decked areas meander out across the park, providing informal links to the more formal grid of routes beyond and providing connections to existing features such as Granton Pond and The Copse.
Granton Pond is a small lake at the south of the site formerly used as a drainage reservoir for a nearby quarry is enhanced to make it a haven for wildlife, safe and accessible to all with a new footpath constructed along its eastern edge and installing a viewing platform over the pond.Caroline Burn, a culverted water course which crosses the site eventually draining into the estuary, is redirected to emerge as a water feature at the centre of the park to run westward along the park to an outflow embedded at the edge of the new square.
Informal gravel paths meander through the park with the landform sculpted to provide natural banks and terraces creating a natural shelter towards the centre of the park. A series of linear boardwalks provide public access in close proximity to the waters edge terminating in a stepped viewing platform where the Burn meets the square.
The new public square located at the eastern end of the green swathe adjacent to the Scottish Gas Headquarters creates a formal urban space that leads down to the parkland. The public square is apportioned with rows of pleached lime trees set within a linear patchwork of granite paving, gravel and lawn areas.
The park contains over 200 existing trees supplemented with more than 800 semi-mature birch trees, 15,000 shrubs and 43,000m2 of new grassland.
At the western end of the site a small copse containing many mature pines and other species of tree provides a setting for the adjacent residential development forming a semi-private 'room' off the main park. Additional tree planting is provided to enhance the form and biodiversity of the copse.
A long, partly wooded bank following the east-west flow of the park is further reinforced by new tree planting allowing it to become a powerful natural feature and offering a greater degree of privacy.
Deer have become regular visitors and are believed to have made a new home in mature woodland by the waterfront. The flower-rich grassland creates habitats for butterflies and other wildlife. Species-rich scrub and native trees attract feeding, roosting and nesting birds. Mosaics of semi-natural vegetation (scrub/uncut grass/tall-herb etc) provide habitats for breeding birds and butterflies, and terrestrial habitats for amphibians in addition to the pond and large water body which both include larger areas of shallow water, semi-natural vegetation along the water's edge including marshland and species-rich grassland.
The flooded quarry (Granton Pond) is an important foraging area for large numbers of bats including Pipistrelle and Daubenton's Bat which roost, breed and hibernate in buildings in the surrounding area. It also supports fish with breeding Common Frog, Common Toad and small numbers of Smooth Newts.