Setting shale on new West Lothian trail

A new walking heritage trail in West Lothian has been launched in celebration of the local Shale industry.

Sunday, 31st January 2021, 7:00 am
More information about the Shale Trail can be found at Photo by Tom Duffin.

The Shale oil industry has a remarkable and important local history, and it is hoped that the new trail will allow visitors to experience this.

Although it currently cannot attract tourists to the area, it’s a great route for local people to use and to connect them with the heritage that the Shale industry created in West Lothian.

The trail, which runs 16 miles from West Calder to Winchburgh, was funded by LEADER+ and the National Heritage Lottery, and organised by Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace Trust.

The route was created with walkers and cyclists in mind and features new interactive interpretation way markers that dig into the heaps of history that lies under West Lothian’s green footpath network.

Shale Trail Steering Group member Dr Robin Chesters Director Almond Valley Heritage Trust said of the new trail: “This is a great new way of enjoying the landscape around us and appreciating how it has changed through time.

"The associated website provides a gateway into a fascinating world of oil works, shale pits, and miner’s rows, in an age when Scotland’s shale oil industry led the world."

Charlie Cumming, Chief Executive, Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust said: “The trail is a great way to explore the local area and will help bring communities in West Lothian together.

"The trail offers the perfect opportunity for locals and visitors to get out, exercise and try something new while enjoying some fresh air and learn more about their fascinating local heritage”.

Linlithgow MSP Fiona Hyslop (SNP) said: “I am delighted to welcome and support the launch of West Lothian Shale Trail.

"The West Lothian Shale Trail is an example of the rich cultural, historical and scientific heritage we have here in West Lothian and it is important that we continue connect with, celebrate and share this.

"I would like to thank all those involved in the project and I am sure that the people of West Lothian will find a new appreciation not only for the landscape and scenery but for the story of West Lothian’s past.”