Bilston Burn

A small river in Midlothian, the Bilston Burn forms as drains within Forest Research's experimental plots at Easter Bush and flows northeast for a mile (1.5 km) to the village of Bilston. It then turns east, flowing through the picturesque Bilston Glen. Part way along the glen its course is interrupted by a large area of colliery spoil from the former Bilston Glen Pit, with the stream flowing in a culvert for a quarter-mile (0.5 km). It continues through the gorge and under Bilston Glen Viaduct to fall into the River North Esk at Polton, having completed a course of 2¾ miles (4.5 km). The Bilston Burn Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) combines geological interest and with mixed ash vegetation. It was first designated in 1956 and extends to 16.6 ha (41 acres). The rocks along the course of the river in Bilston Glen are a unique succession of Lower Carboniferous coal and limestone beds, dating from 320 - 350 million years ago, and represent the finest natural section through Scotland’s coal bearing Carboniferous rocks. Unfortunately, the colliery spoil has obscured the central section of this otherwise unbroken exposure.

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