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Speirs Bruce Way: Honouring an Explorer’s Legacy in Edinburgh’s Upgraded Path

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The recently upgraded pedestrian, cycling, and wheelchair-accessible path in the northern region of Edinburgh has received an official name in honour of a renowned explorer who once pursued studies in the vicinity.

Today, on Friday, 30 June, the inaugural ceremony took place for Speirs Bruce Way, a pathway that pays tribute to the remarkable achievements of William Speirs Bruce. Bruce, a scientist from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is renowned for his expeditions to Antarctica and his time spent studying at the Scottish Marine Station for Scientific Research in Granton.

Situated within Edinburgh’s Granton Waterfront, this central pathway establishes a crucial link connecting the neighbourhood’s core to public transportation hubs, local shops, Granton Beach, the upcoming cultural and recreational offerings at West Shore Studios, the promenade, and a planned coastal park. Furthermore, Speirs Bruce Way will also cater to a forthcoming housing development situated west of the path.

This endeavour is part of the broader £1.3 billion Granton Waterfront Regeneration program and has received funding from the Scottish Government through Sustrans Scotland’s Places for Everyone initiative. The comprehensive plans for the area’s revitalization aim to transform Granton Waterfront into a sustainable coastal town for Edinburgh, featuring 3,500 net zero homes, a new primary school, and ample green and open spaces.

This major upgrade has not only brought a key walking, wheeling and cycling route back into use, but has created a much more accessible and safe space for people to spend time, whether travelling with a wheelchair, using a buggy or out for a jog.

Today I was delighted to help officially open the path, which recognises the area’s former student and pioneering explorer, scientist and oceanographer William Speirs Bruce.

Our £1.3bn regeneration of Granton Waterfront is one of the largest and most ambitious projects of its kind in Scotland. Improving connectivity and strengthening active travel links is central to this, and our wider ambitions to achieve net zero by 2030, reduce kms travelled by car and to create a safer, more sustainable and pleasant transport future for Edinburgh.

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener

This upgraded route is an important achievement for Granton Waterfront.

The Speirs Bruce Way greatly improves the link between Waterfront Avenue and West Shore Road with a path that is suitable for all to use, whilst also enhancing connections to the nearest bus stops and the Waterfront Broadway local centre.

By making it safer and easier for residents and visitors to the area to walk, wheel and cycle we hope that many more people will have the confidence to leave the car at home when making their everyday journeys.

We’re grateful to the City of Edinburgh Council and local community members for their hard work and considered input which has helped make this project a success.

Simon Strain, Head of Places for Everyone Programme at Sustrans Scotland

Upgrades include widening the path to provide space for both pedestrians and cyclists, the installation of new lighting and path access improvements at the north end where it meets West Shore Road.

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As well as providing a key north-south link, Speirs Bruce Way passes by the 17th century Caroline Park House, the remnants of Granton Castle to the east and the boundary wall of the former Granton Gasworks to the west. A Historic Environment Scotland plaque has been installed to commemorate Sir Thomas Hope (Lord Advocate to King Charles I) who lived at Granton Castle. Granton Castle Walled Garden is also accessed directly from the path and is managed by the Friends of Granton Castle Walled Garden.

Through Places for Everyone, the Scottish Government has granted Stage 0-2 funding for further projects in relation to Phase 1 of the Granton Waterfront Regeneration, on which an initial planning consultation is currently underway.

Designs for the upgraded path were produced by WSP, with construction carried out by Mackenzie Construction.

Find out more about Granton Waterfront regeneration.

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