The Cut (Craighall Road)

Route Stop 20

Next Stop -#21 Newhaven Church
Overview Visit of George IV

A Street of Many Names

The street name may say Craighall Road but to Newhaveners this is universally referred to as “The Cut”.  Before that it was known locally as “Grassy Bank”.  Its history, however, goes back much further than that.

Formed by the Ice Age

It is thought that about 10,000 years ago, as the last Ice Age was coming to an end, the sea levels were higher and, if the tide was in, you would have been standing at the bottom of a cliff drowning instead of at the foot of Craighall Road.  The height that defines Craighall Road has been caused by the last Ice Age over 20,000 years ago.  What had happened was the land had become depressed due to the weight of the ice (isostatic). When the ice had melted this had caused the land to gradually lift (post-glacial rebound).

3_6071 Craighall Road looking north towards the Forth. Courtesy of The Liston Legacy

Relict Cliffs

The diagram at the top shows what may have happened here in Newhaven over the thousands of intervening years until now and the photograph below it was taken in the Isle of Arran which shows how the seas can undercut the cliff face.  

The land’s height rose faster than the sea’s.  Raised beaches were wave-cut platforms and beaches that were above the current sea level.

You can normally find some old cliffs (relict cliffs) too behind these raised beaches with wave-cut notches, arches, stacks etc. along them.

The significant hill that remained was known commonly as Grassy Bank and formed part of the pastoral landscape of the area.  Eventually, a road that would lead directly into the City was CUT through  this slope, an epithet that has stuck!


Courtesy of

Large Villas

The Cut is enclosed by high retaining walls on both sides. The Victorian villa on the right of Craighall Rd was the manse for St Andrew’s Church. A large house on the left was built for Henry Robb, Shipbuilder, whose Leith yard was just outside the Newhaven boundary. It’s called Dunforth House, and was built around 1860.

It was subsequently donated to the Church of Scotland. It was then converted into a children’s home and operated as such until circa 2005.  It was from Dunforth, that film star Roy Rogers, King of the Cowboys, and his wife Dale Evans, took one of the residents, Marion ‘Mimi’ Fleming back to America as their ward.  But that’s another story!

This house used to be the manse for Newhaven Church. After The Disruption (route stop 21), it remained the house of the minister of St Andrew's Church.
Previous Stop - #19 Andrew Wood CourtNext Stop -#21 Newhaven Church