A walk to discover lichens in Edinburgh

A new perspective on the city

A 4 km walk to discover lichens in the city of Edinburgh.


The Lichen Walk project aims to introduce the inhabitants or any visitors to Edinburgh to the presence of lichens in the urban ecosystem. It invites participants to discover another facet of the city and to observe their surrounding environment. Cities are often seen as environments created for and by humans. However, other living beings colonise the surfaces and interstices of the city, creating hidden wildness. On this walk, we will observe these spontaneous movements of life by learning about lichens in the city.


I believe that to change cities into sustainable spaces, we must welcome more-than-human living organisms into urban space and recognise their presence and importance.


Follow this walk to learn more about what a lichen is, its importance in the urban ecosystem, its symbiosis – a close relationship between a fungus and an alga – and the mysteries this organism holds.


How does it work?


The 4 kilometer walk lasts about 3 hours, stopping at each destination. All the interactive content of the walk is available online on the WALK tab of this website. The content is formatted into blog posts and those can be read on printed document (see the PDF document below), or on your phone. The content can also be listened to thanks to the audio accessible on each post. To enable the best experience, I recommend that the participants bring a hand lens with them. If you have one but you don’t know how to use it, you can watch this video from the British Lichen Society. Lichens are small and looking at them with the naked eye can sometimes be complicated. Otherwise, pictures will be available on the website. It is also recommended that you bring headphones to listen to the audios and buffer the noise of the city. I invite participants to adapt their route according to their desires and remind them that this content is only a support to stimulate discovery.


The walk has been created with everyone in mind, and is accessible for both novice and experienced naturalists.


At each stop, you will be given a specific meeting point and the geographical coordinates (on the interactive map above). If you are lost, you can use a GPS or an online application to find your way (Google Map or other). Once in front of the tree, you will be able to access the website and the content of the walk if you have wifi on your phone.

If you do not have access to the internet on your phone, do not worry !

You can print the PDF document (downloadable below) at home and read the content as your do the walk. This is the PDF part 1:  LichenWalk_PDF
and this is the PDF part 2: LichenWalk2_PDF

I have also created an Identification Key , that will help you identify the different lichen species we will see on the way. You can click on the PDF document:  ID_GUIDE


Are you ready for the adventure? Click here or go on the WALK tab and check the first stop on the interactive map accessible here.