Covid lockdown pressures grow at Beecraigs
Beecraigs Country Park is struggling with wear and tear pressures after the latest Covid lockdown.
The country park rangers have faced an increased workload clearing up after illegal camping and parties since the first lockdown in March last year. The path network has also taken a beating with a mixture of heavier footfall and bad weather.
In a report to Linlithgow Local Area Committee, West Lothian Council’s local NETs team said: “Pressures on the more sensitive path surfaces/locations continue to prove challenging. There is also noticeable friction between certain user groups e.g. cyclists, families, dog walkers.
“The Ranger Service has been clearing up firework litter from Beecraigs Country Park and Cockleroy throughout October. This year, fireworks were also set off on the loch dam.
“Some Beecraigs paths are in a bad state after extraordinary flooding in the first week of December. A large number of lets were dug into drain paths, and cleared of conifer needles and silt from the boardwalks and bridges to help water drain away.
“A complaint was received about the state of the unsurfaced paths at Hillhouse. This is a result of very wet weather and unprecedented use during the pandemic. We created a signage campaign at the main access points from Preston Road and the Visitor Centre to educate the public about using paths responsibly if they are in a poor condition.”
The Ranger service has continued with a mixture of home working,site visits and park patrols through October to December, with a Ranger “on duty” every day.
“Large logs have been purposefully placed by a member of the public across paths at Hillhouse and Cockleroy to deter cyclists.
"Additional checks are being carried out and removed when found. But we will need to put signage up again to advice people how dangerous this is.“The Ranger Service have a contractor in place to upgrade the paths from the Visitor Centre to Lochside and a section of the Green Waymarked Trail to complete the Cockleroy loop. This work will be carried out in early 2021,” the report concluded.