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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (7)
From:  Drumbrae (NT188749)
To:  Danderhall (W) (NT297694)
Via:  Wester Hailes, Fairmilehead
Distance:  10.4 miles (16.7 km)
Meets:  A90, A8, A71, A720, A70, A702, A701, A772, A7
Former Number(s):  A720
Highway Authorities


Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
B701 Drumbrae - Sighthill
(A71) Sighthill
B701 Sighthill - Danderhall

The B701 forms an outer ring through Edinburgh's sprawling suburbs, although it is much longer than it was originally. Most of the route was renumbered as part of the much longer A720 in the 1960s, only to regain the B701 number section by section as the new A720, Edinburgh City Bypass was completed. The B701 now includes the former A720 sections at each end of its original route.


Drumbrae - Colinton

Drum Brae South

The route starts at the signalised Drumbrae Junction on the A90 Queensferry Road in Drumbrae, and heads south along the largely residential Drum Brae. The first part, Drum Brae North, is almost dead straight, with Drum Brae Park forming a small gap in the houses at the southern end. Drum Brae South is somewhat longer and more sinuous as it continues south. The majority of the properties along this part of the route seem to be interwar bungalows, although there are a few pockets of older stone houses, and several newer blocks of housing and flats. There are several pedestrian crossings, mostly near the scattered shops, and a few Yellow Box Junctions, but not traffic lights or roundabouts before it reaches the A8. The two routes cross at Drumbrae Roundabout, with the Corstophine Retail Park in the south east corner, accessed from the B701. The route then bears right by the Costorphine police station, with a complex signalised junction for the Supermarket and western end of Corstophine High Street.

Continuing south, the route curves back to the left, and Meadow Place Road soon gains service roads for the properties, leaving a realtively unobstructed run along this tree-lined avenue. It then crosses over the Fife Circle and under the North Clyde and Tram Lines, in quick succession, with an area of parkland between which is home to the high school and low rise flats. A small roundabout sits just beyond the third bridge, at the corner of Sighthill Park, with the B701 continuing alongside the park on Broomhouse Road, with the houses opposite again set back behind a service road. A large modern development, fronted by blocks of flats stands at the end of the park, just before the route meets the dualled A71 at the Sighthill Roundabout. There is then a multiplex west along the A71 to the Bankhead Roundabout before the B701 regains its number and continues south along the dual-carriageway Wester Hailes Road.

This is the original starting point of the B701, although it was dualled while it was the A720 in 1970. Apart from a few older houses on the left at the northern end, which sit behind a service road, the route mainly passes through parkland here, with low rise flats and housing estates set back from the roadside. Despite being a dual carriageway, this was one of the first sections of the old A720 to be bypassed, in 1986. It crosses the Union Canal just after another high school, and then has to negotiate a double signalised T junction next to the Westside Plaza shopping and leisure complex. Wester Hailes Road then passes under the Edinburgh to Carlisle railway line before running parallel to the A720 for a short distance to a roundabout at Baberton Junction, from which a spur and south-facing slip roads give access to the bypass and Baberton beyond. So far this section of the route has been a dual carriageway, albeit intermittently hatched down to one lane in either direction to accommodate turning lanes and bus stops etc. A little beyond the roundabout, the route narrows to S2 as it winds round to meet the A70.

Colinton - Danderhall

The narrow Bridge Road in Colinton

The A70 is crossed at traffic lights, with the B701 curving round to head east along Gillespie Road beyond. This is a much more salubrious area, with large detached properties set back behind tall hedges and stone walls. The road itself is narrow, however, and delivery vehicles, slow moving traffic, buses and stopping taxis can all cause traffic to back up, especially at busy times. The houses on the right then come to an end as the road runs close to the densely wooded banks of the Water of Leith, which lies at the bottom of a steep bank. A sweeping left hander then leads to a tight right to cross the high Colinton Bridge over the Water of Leith into Colinton itself. The route remains narrow as it winds past the shops on Bridge Road, climbing up to a very sharp signalised fork junction with Woodhall Road. A little further along, it TOTSOs right onto Redford Road, an altogether wider and straighter road which continues east.

Behind the houses to the north lie Redford Barracks, and after a gentle meander through the eastern part of Colinton, passing a mixture of mostly older flats and houses, the route passes Dreghorn Barracks, hidden away behind a band of trees. A roundabout sees the unclassified Dreghorn Link head south to (and only to) the A720 at Dreghorn Junction, and soon after the mostly tree lined Redford Road reaches a T-junction and TOTSOs right again onto Oxgangs Road. After a short run to the south east, Oxgangs Road sweeps round to head east again at a mini roundabout, and proceeds to climb a gentle hill between long lines of detached interwar bungalows. This house style really does seem to predominate along the B701! The prehistoric Caiy Stone standing stone stands just off to the left on a side road, but otherwise there is little of interest before the A702 is met at a signalised crossroads at Fairmilehead.

Approaching the cross-
roads between the B701 and the A701 at Kaimes

Frogston Road West continues east, past some of the inevitable bungalows, but a line of detached properties on the right have some interesting detailing. After a couple of modern estates, the route unexpectedly emerges in a much more rural landscape. Trees and stone walls may still line the road, but there are fields instead of houses hiding behind them, and to the south there are some fine views across the fields to the northern end of the Pentland Hills, and the flatter landscape of Midlothian to the east of them. This rural break only lasts as far as Mortonhall, the next suburb, where new housing is spreading out across the fields. A short run along Frogston Road East (yes, more bungalows) leads to the Kaimes Junction, a signalised crossroads where the A701 is crossed. This was the original eastern end of the route. The B701 continues east along Captain's Road, with bungalows lining almost all of the south side, facing onto a mixture of newer housing and commercial premises, including a small shopping parade and schools. This is Gracemount, where a signalised crossroads is provided for the unclassified Lasswade Road.

Continuing east on Gilmerton Dykes Street, the route meanders a little as it crosses the Burdiehouse Burn, and then passes more post war housing, interspersed with shops and schools. A curve to the left leads onto Newtoft Road which leads north east into the centre of Gilmerton where it crosses the A772, again at traffic lights at Gilmerton Crossroads. Now on the last stretch, the route follows Ferniehill Drive, which passes through one of those idealised 1950s estates where the houses all face onto open green lawns. This, of course, means that front doors are rarely used and around the back are vast tarred parking areas, while the tiny gardens offer little privacy at front or rear. Soon after this, the route once more comes within the sight of fields, as it curves left then right, before ending at traffic lights on the A7.


Route changes

In 1922 the B701 only ran between the A71 and A701, mostly along its current route, except between the two TOTSOs in Colinton where it took a longer route to the north. This continued along Colinton Road, passing the Redford Barracks, before doubling back down Oxgangs Road North (not Colinton Mains Drive which is now the mainline at either end). In the 1960s, however, this route was extended in both directions and renumbered as the A720, leaving the B701 as just the short section in Colinton where the A720 had taken the shorter, current course. The A720 appears to have been intended as an outer ring road for Edinburgh, connecting up the numerous radials and removing the need for a lot of traffic to pass through the city centre. All too soon, however, it was swamped by new developments, and the substandard sections, particularly in Colinton, proved to be major bottlenecks.

As a result, a new route for the A720 was devised, and it was moved outwards onto its current purpose-built route. This meant that the B701 was able to get its full length back, and it also kept the extensions at either end; although the old route through Colinton was declassified at this time. The renumbering happened in a piecemeal fashion as the Bypass progressed, although it seems that there was never a point when the B701 had a detached section, based on mapping evidence so far discovered.


The northern end of the route follows the pre-existing Drum Brae between the A90 and A8. Meadow Place Road, however, was built on a new alignment in the early 1960s, first appearing on the 1965 OS One Inch sheet as an unclassified road. This then connected into the older Broomhouse Road.

The online and offline dualling of Wester Hailes Road for 1 mile southwards from Bankhead Roundabout, Calder Road (A71) was completed in 1970 per the 1970 Scottish Development Department Report. The 1971 OS One inch map shows dualling on what was by then the A720 to just north of Viewfield Road. This is the only section of the route which is fully dualled today. The cost was £470,000. Much of this stretch was online, although a new bridge under the railway was provided, and a long double bend removed. The old road here has been redeveloped with the housing of Clovenstone Park.

The eastern extension between the A701 and A772 was also along pre-existing roads, but again beyond the A772 Ferniehill Drive appears to have been new build to serve the new housing estate, and extended between 1965 and 1971 to meet the A7.

The 1922 MOT Road List defines this route as: Kaimes - Colinton - Sighthill

Related Pictures
View gallery (7)
Frogston Road East - Geograph - 966444.jpgRedford Road - B701 - Geograph - 936269.jpgBridge Road, Colinton - Geograph - 936239.jpgDrum Brae Road South - Geograph - 874673.jpgOxgangs Road in Edinburgh - Geograph - 1210754.jpg
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B700 – B799
B700 • B701 • B702 • B703 • B704 • B705 • B706 • B707 • B708 • B709 • B710 • B711 • B712 • B713 • B714 • B715 • B716 • B717 • B718 • B719
B720 • B721 • B722 • B723 • B724 • B725 • B726 • B727 • B728 • B729 • B730 • B731 • B732 • B733 • B734 • B735 • B736 • B737 • B738 • B739
B740 • B741 • B742 • B743 • B744 • B745 • B746 • B747 • B748 • B749 • B750 • B751 • B752 • B753 • B754 • B755 • B756 • B757 • B758 • B759
B760 • B761 • B762 • B763 • B764 • B765 • B766 • B767 • B768 • B769 • B770 • B771 • B772 • B773 • B774 • B775 • B776 • B777 • B778 • B779
B780 • B781 • B782 • B783 • B784 • B785 • B786 • B787 • B788 • B789 • B790 • B791 • B792 • B793 • B794 • B795 • B796 • B797 • B798 • B799
Earlier versions: B705 • B706 • B707 • B708 • B713(E) • B713(W) • B714 • B715 • B716 • B724 • B727 • B730 • B734
B735 • B736 • B739 (S) • B739 (N) • B743 • B744 • B746 • B752 • B761 • B762 • B763 • B765 • B773 • B783 • B785 • B789 • B791 • B795
Anomalous numbers: B77

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