Glencorse Water Treatment Works

Glencorse Mains, Penicuik – Archaeological Evaluation

CFA were retained by ERM on behalf of Scottish Water to provide the Cultural Heritage Chapter for the Edinburgh Drinking Water Project. This is Scottish Water’s largest single investment project with a value of over £130 million. It comprised of a water treatment plant at Glencourse and a 15km long connecting pipeline to run from there to Edinburgh.

Following the submission of the Environmental Statement, and the approval of the project by Midlothian Council and City of Edinburgh Council, CFA were tasked with developing the archaeological mitigation strategy. From the outset of the project it was clear that the location of the proposed new water treatment works was archaeologically sensitive as aerial photography had indicated that a possible Roman Fortlet could be present on the site. Due to the sensitivity of the area an evaluation was required. The evaluation consisted of 135 trenches covering 12,535m2. The remains of a rectilinear enclosure with a V-shaped ditch were located. No finds and no internal features were identified. This result allowed Scottish Water to fine tune the layout of the water treatment works and preserve the possible Fortlet in situ.

Due to complex land ownership issues no advance evaluation works were possible on the route of the pipeline so a watching brief was maintained on the soil stripping works. In addition to the watching brief two sites of interest, identified from the Environmental Statement, were subject to additional advance work immediately preceding construction. These were the site of a WW2 army camp at Mortonhall in Edinburgh and the possible location of a Cromwellian Army Camp also in the vicinity of Mortonhall. An initial metal detector survey was undertaken along the route of the pipeline where it crossed the possible site of the Cromwellian Camp but no finds of interest were located. The WW2 army camp was excavated in advance of the pipeline construction and over 5 individual structures, including barrack blocks and toilet blocks belonging to the site were uncovered and recorded.


An open day was held during the excavation of the WW2 camp, this proved to be very popular with the local residents as over 170 visitors were welcomed to the site over 1 day. Following the completion of the onsite works the results of the excavation of the WW2 camp have been published as an academic article in the Journal of Conflict Archaeology and as a popular article in History Scotland.

16DLIsquad_MoretonHallAbove – The 16th Battalion of the Light Infantry. Training squad at Frogston Road Camp, Edinburgh in the late summer of 1940

Funding Body: ERM on behalf of Scottish Water
NT 2347 6260  NT 2370 6280

SIGNIFICANT FINDS: Possible Roman Fortlet, WW2 Army Camp

Posted in Utilities | Tagged , , , , Comments Off on Glencorse Water Treatment Works

Comments are closed.