Holyrood Park, situated in central Edinburgh, includes woodlands, lochs, dramatic basalt crags, marshes and cultural remains within its 260-hectare area. Established in 1128 by King David I of Scotland as the royal hunting grounds for Holyrood Abbey, it was expanded to its present form by James V in the 1500’s. The park is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Site of Special Scientific Interest for its archaeological and geological sites and natural habitats.
The central feature of Holyrood Park is the volcanic remnant Arthur’s Seat – the highest point in Edinburgh at 251 metres, which provides a panoramic view of the city. Queen’s Drive rings the park and provides road access to its crags, wetlands and parklands.
Dunsapie Loch, one of two man-made lochs within the park, is an important wetland habitat for birds and other wildlife. Dunsapie Hill, a basaltic remnant, overlooks the loch and contains several archaeological sites.
Saint Margaret’s Well was a place of pilgrimage originally situated at Saint Margaret’s Church in nearby Restalrig, The medieval well house was moved in 1860 to a natural spring in Holyrood Park.
Holyrood Park today remains part of Holyrood Palace, which forms the southern end of the Edinburgh UNESCO World Heritage Site.