The ‘Shale Trail’ will now become a new route through West Lothian’s industrial past. Our aim will be to create an inspiring, enjoyable off-road trail of approximately 16 miles, which once complete, will tell the oil shale story, enabling local people and visitors to engage with and learn about every aspect of local shale heritage. People will have the opportunity to participate in …
The ‘Shale Trail’ will now become a new route through West Lothian’s industrial past. Our aim will be to create an inspiring, enjoyable off-road trail of approximately 16 miles, which once complete, will tell the oil shale story, enabling local people and visitors to engage with and learn about every aspect of local shale heritage.
People will have the opportunity to participate in an exciting activities programme, with new heritage interpretation, – and all whilst getting some fresh air and recreation, perhaps on a bike ride, or walking the dog!
The trail stretching from West Calder in the south-west to Winchburgh in the north-east is loosely based on the ‘Paraffin Young Heritage Trail’ which was first set up in the 1970’s for automobile users. The path has now been re-imagined for walkers and cyclists, opening access to exciting new paths. Access to Greendykes, the Five Sister bings and abandoned quarries re-inhabited by nature are particular highlights. There will be historical information along the route which will tell the story of the ‘Shale people’ and public art to capture the imagination, bringing communities together to celebrate their rich history.
Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace Trust initially commissioned a feasibility study in 2018 to research, consult, scope, assess and report on options for development of the Shale Trail, funded by Central Scotland Green Network Trust and LEADER European grant programme.
After supportive public consultation, the preferred route between West Calder, through Livingston and Broxburn to Winchburgh, was chosen involving several Community Development Trusts. An application was made to The National Lottery Heritage Fund and was recently successful with an award of almost £100,000 made towards heritage interpretation of the project and along the route.
Helen Pritchard, Depute Head Teacher at St Mary’s Primary School, Polbeth said: “We believe the Shale Trail would benefit the local community because it would allow young people to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors who worked in shale mines. It would bring our curriculum to life.”
ROAD CLOSURE ALERT
The Construction of the Shale Trail is going to commence very soon, and due to the upgrading of essentials paths along the route we regretfully have to close some path routes along the trail. We do apologies for any inconvenience this may cause but we hope the path improvements will make using the route more enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Please click on the links below for maps detailing the affected routes:
SHALE TRAIL EVENTS
Our first steps towards making our dream of reinvigorating the Shale Trail became a reality in September thanks to the 22 volunteers from HSBC whose excellent contribution helped prepare the initial path.
One participant said: “Thank you again for a great day yesterday, it was brilliantly organised and our teams really enjoyed the opportunity, everyone felt it was very satisfying to see the results of all their hard work during the day. We tackled part of the trail that had become overgrown and our team worked together to open the path for everyone.”
Heath Brown the Shale Trail Heritage Manager said: “it was a wonderful day and a great way to start the trial build with the dedicated volunteers from HSBC. We are hoping to create more volunteer events along the new trial, for people to get involved and learn about the history, wildlife and lives of the people who worked in the industry.”
“The shale trail is another welcome addition to the visitor experience in West Lothian but can also be used by local residents to get out and about and explore their local heritage and environment.” Cllr Tom Conn, West Lothian Council Executive spokesman for the Environment
Funded by: Sustrans, CSGNT Development Fund
- Create 16 miles of route between Winchburgh, Broxburn, Uphall, Livingston and West Calder that shines a new light on the rich oil shale heritage of West Lothian.
- Build both digital and physical signage. Developing a new website that has been co designed with young people.
- Develop a programme of community outreach which focuses on local heritage, health and wellbeing, recreation and the natural environment.
• enable the key stakeholders to participate and have greater control on the development of green infrastructure
• raise awareness of the importance that green networks are to the local wildlife
• promote the active travel network and how it can link up with other areas in the city to encourage greater use of off road paths.
• providing opportunities for communities to come together and take part in community engagement activities.
• better understanding of the what are the key uses and links to local assets that the route could provide
• what are the potential economic benefits to creating the strategic routes.
• where the opportunities are to increase accessible greenspaces in the area.