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Balerno is located in Edinburgh
Location within Edinburgh
Population5,486 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceNT165665
Council area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBALERNO
Postcode districtEH14
Dialling code0131
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
55°53′07″N 3°20′15″W / 55.88518°N 3.337526°W / 55.88518; -3.337526Coordinates: 55°53′07″N 3°20′15″W / 55.88518°N 3.337526°W / 55.88518; -3.337526

Balerno (/bəˈlɜːrn/; Scottish Gaelic: Baile Àirneach, IPA:[ˈpaleˈɛːɾʲnəx]; Scots: Balerno) is a village on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland situated 8 miles (13 kilometres) south-west of the city centre, next to Currie and then Juniper Green. Traditionally in the county of Midlothian it now administratively falls within the jurisdiction of the City of Edinburgh Council.


Its name derives from the Scottish Gaelic Baile Àirneach, meaning "townland/town of the hawthorns".[1] The earliest written records of Balhernoch or Balernach are found in the late 13th century.

The 18th Century brought substantial development to the area, with many new flax, snuff and paper mills springing up around the Water of Leith and its tributary, the Bavelaw Burn (evidence of flax production can be seen in Harlaw Woods). The largest of these mills, Balerno Bank Paper Mill located near the centre of the old village closed in the early 1990s. After the First World War house building began in earnest in the area and since then residential pressures have almost overwhelmed commercial and industrial ones. There was a short loop railway running over what is now the Water of Leith Walkway.


Balerno Community High School was founded in 1983. Dean Park Primary School is the local primary school. It is located in the south of Balerno.

Culture and attractions[edit]


Balerno is home to Currie RFC, who play at Malleny Park. Currie won the Scottish Rugby Union Scottish Premiership Division One in 2007 and 2010. Balerno Bowling Club situated in the heart of the village dates back to 1885, plays lawn bowls in the Water of Leith league, Edinburgh & Leith Bowling Association.

Malleny House & Gardens[edit]

The 17th century Malleny House and its surrounding gardens are owned by the National Trust for Scotland. While the house is not open to the public the gardens are and consist of a 3-acre (12,000 m2) walled garden set in approximately nine acres of woodland. The gardens feature four 100-year-old yew trees known as the Four Apostles and was home to Scotland's National Bonsai Collection, which left around 2000 and is now located at Binny Plants near Ecclesmachan.[2]

Scottish SPCA[edit]

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals operates an Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Mansfield. The SSPCA opened the centre in 1930 as a Rest Farm for working horses. The centre cares for and rehomes thousands of neglected and mistreated animals every year.


Balerno has two churches: St. Mungo's Church (Scottish Episcopal Church) and Balerno Parish Church (Church of Scotland). St Joseph's Catholic Church closed in August 2006, with the building purchased by Balerno Parish Church and renamed "The St Joseph's Centre".[3]

Farmers Market[edit]

A farmers' market is held in Balerno Main Street on the second Saturday of each month. The Balerno Farmers Market is run by Balerno Village Trust

Balerno Village Screen[edit]

2013 saw the launch of Balerno Village Screen - a community cinema project with free admission and funded by donations. The screenings are shown monthly on the first Saturday of every month in the Ogston Hall and the St Joseph's Centre. So far around 400 villagers have turned out per screening to watch the films.[4]

Music Festival[edit]

2008 saw the launch of Balerno's music festival with events held at Balerno Parish Church, Balerno Bowling Club, Balerno Parish Church New Hall, the Grey Horse Inn and the St Joseph's Centre.[5]

Red Moss Wildlife Reserve[edit]

Red Moss is one of only four raised bogs of sphagnum moss surviving in the Lothians and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is currently managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

Local newspaper[edit]

C&B News[6] is a volunteer-led community news magazine covering Balerno as well as nearby Currie, Juniper Green, Baberton and Colinton. Launched in February 1976, and published 10 times a year, the publication features local news and articles, reports from local groups/organisations, political representatives and Community Councils, plus regular coverage of local planning applications and developments.


See also Transport in Edinburgh


The Caledonian Railway built the Balerno line, a spur line from Slateford, via Colinton, which connected Balerno railway station to the centre of Edinburgh. The line saw an upsurge in housebuilding in Balerno. The last passenger train to run on the line was in 1943, and a High School was placed on the site of the goods station in 1983. The line runs adjacent to the Water of Leith river.

Present day[edit]

The A70 runs near the village. The village is serviced by the 44 bus route, which is operated by Lothian Buses. The route connects Balerno to Currie, Slateford, the City Centre, Brunstane and East Lothian. The village was also served by the E&M Horsburgh service 24 bus route, which connected it to Juniper Green in one direction and East Calder and Livingston, but this has been terminated.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Bòrd na Gàidhlig - History of Gaelic Archived 11 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "National Bonsai Collection - Scotland".
  3. ^ Balerno Parish Church - The St Josephs' Centre
  4. ^ Balerno Village Screen
  5. ^ Best of Balerno Music Festival
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Scars: Edinburgh teens who became post-punk heroes". Retrieved 7 August 2018.

External links[edit]