Craig Finlay Memorial Competition - Ironmills Steps

Ironmills Bridge in Ironmills Park, Dalkeith.
Ironmills Bridge in Ironmills Park, Dalkeith.

In March 2013 the steps from Cemetery Road to Ironmills Park in Dalkeith were closed due to a landslip.

The council has apologised many times for the disruption. A council spokesman said: “While the majority of the slope is stable, there are issues with water so we’re monitoring the site.”

Lots of people used the steps on a daily basis so this has become a big issue.

There are issues with materials falling off the area above the cliff face. A water outflow on the slope may have been contributing to this. Workmen dug out an area at the top of the slope to find out whether the problem was being caused by a water flow.

Water, enough to fill a couple of hose pipes, did materialise.

It is believed that the water source is welling up from four metres down. The council are exploring ways to manage the water source using plastic cells/crates and piping the outflow to the river. Managing the water source is essential for the long term stability of the slope.

Scottish water have checked the local network for leaks from water mains and the sewage system in the area. No leaks have been reported.

The council’s structure teams are producing a design for wooden steps and a railing to reconnect the existing steps with the path adjacent to the wall.

Discussions around finalising and pricing these plans are underway. The work to create the new steps stopped when severe weather caused pronounced soil movement. The work will not commence again until the slope is deemed stable and finances are in place. The public have been strongly advised, for safety reasons, to refrain from accessing the area of landslip.

Simon Bush {61} from Gorbridge, a retired HGV driver, regularly enjoys cycling.

However he has become increasingly frustrated by the closure of the steps, a key route between Midlothian and East Lothian for cyclists.

He said: “This link from Dalkeith is sorely missed by walkers and cyclists. It’s isolated the park for pedestrians.”

Simon believes the issue highlights the need for more cyclist paths in Midlothian.