Dean Village

Since coming back to live in Edinburgh, we’ve walked regularly along the path by the Water of Leith from Ravelston to Stockbridge, stopping frequently in Dean Village.


Dean Village was a grain milling village, with the mills powered by the Water of Leith burn. It fell into general disrepair in the early part of the 20th Century, but is now a very desirable part of town to live in. It is one of the villages of Edinburgh, now very much a part of the city. Strangely, although pictures from the 1960s show a shop on Bell’s Brae, there is now no village centre, no pub, no post office, and no shops. It does however maintain a unique character, probably due to being in the deep valley or “Dene”.

The mill buildings have been converted into flats. This is West Mill built in 1806.


This is the other side of West Mill –  I love the little roof garden.

DSC_0044Grade A listed Well Court was built in 1886 by the then owner of The Scotsman newspaper, and was intended as housing for local workers in Dean. In 2007, a major restoration took place, using traditional materials, to restore the building’s appearance.

The original green grey paintwork was found on the stair windows, and this was used to restore the colour throughout the building.
Lucky residents can sit in the little garden, and listen to the river.

Nothing escapes conversion. This is the Dean Village School, now also flats.

For a few residents, there are houses. This was built in 1597 as the miller’s house. Now a B&B.



I love the tiny garden squeezed onto the side of the pavement.


The large windows also form part of the B&B. They are in what was an old schoolhouse, and was converted by the architect Sir Basil Spence into an artist’s studio for the artist Aleksander Zyw.


Here’s another view of West Mill, this time with sunflowers.


How nice would it be to live here? I can imagine leaning out of the window, to throw bread to the ducks below.

Dean Village houses highlight to me the luxury of outdoor space and how even with the smallest space an inspiring garden is possible.

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