A walk with Robert Louis Stevenson
An educational resource


A Walk with Robert Louis Stevenson

The Poetry Trail in Colinton

An educational resource for teachers and their pupils, aged 10-14


The poet and writer Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13th 1850. He is often referred to as RLS.

In his book of poems ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ he remembers the summers he spent in the village of Colinton when he stayed with his grandfather, The Rev Lewis Balfour who was the minister of Colinton Parish Church (1824 -1860).

The Poetry Trail starts at the Long Steps on Bridge Road which lead down to Colinton Parish Church, Dell Rd and finally the Swing Café within the church.

Working in teams of 3/4/5 (1 reader, 1 writer, and history hunters) take the Poetry Trail down the Long Steps to Colinton Parish Church to discover what life was like in Colinton, when RLS was a boy.

Look for evidence of  how people lived in the 19th century, what the village looked like then, what industry there was in those days, how the mills worked (with no electricity), what jobs people had in those days AND what it felt like to visit Colinton as a boy on holiday from the city in the 19th century.


A Note to the Teacher

How you organise your children to ‘Walk with Robert Louis Stevenson’ will depend on the size of your group and the adult helpers who accompany you.

As the Long Steps - where the poetry trail starts - are relatively narrow and steep, it would be advisable with a large group, to divide the class into teams of three/four/five, who have their own map and specific clues to look for, discuss, and then answer on their work card/sheet.

At the end of the trail all the teams can meet in the Swing Café (open between 10am and 2pm Mondays – Fridays) to report their findings to everyone else and complete the picture of Robert Louis Stevenson’s childhood in Colinton.

The Map and CLUES are designed for downloading and copying for each team or a whole class.

Download your copy of the Map and Clues here.


TO ARRANGE YOUR VISIT please contact Gayle Taylor (Associate Minister for Children and Youth) either on gayle.taylor@colinton-parish.com or at the Colinton Parish Church Office: tel. 0131 441 2232 (between 10am and 4pm.)

Planning the visit with Gayle will enable you to discuss the practicalities of space for snacks and your final reporting session, toilets and wet weather options. Gayle is happy to include a look inside the church to give a context to RLS’s experience of coming to church when visiting his Grandfather who was once Colinton’s minister.