First phase of new Winchburgh park now open
Over 100 Winchburgh school children gathered to plant bulbs in celebration of the opening of Scotland’s largest new park this week.
The opening of phase 1 of the Auldcathie District Park unlocks around a quarter of the 85-acre park. It re-opens the Drovers Road link path to the Union Canal from the village, allowing locals and visitors to enjoy 20 acres of grassed playing areas, new walking and running routes and an enclosed dog park.
The celebration this week also marked the handover of a new 1.5 acre community garden to the Winchburgh Community Growing Group.
John Hamilton, CEO, Winchburgh Developments Limited said: "After £8 million worth of investment and extensive reclamation works, it’s great to finally see the land come back to life.
"We recognise the importance of quality outdoor spaces for both physical and mental wellbeing of the community here, which is why we have invested significantly in this project.”
Julie Procter, chief executive, Greenspace Scotland added: “The work carried out by Winchburgh Developments Ltd at Auldcathie is a fantastic example of an initiative that really adds value and enriches the lives of those who live there.
"Not just because of the creation of new high-quality greenspace which will make Winchburgh an attractive and vibrant place to live and work, but because of the involvement of the local community in all stages of the project.”
Ian Harvey, headteacher at Winchburgh Primary School, said: “Over the past years the pupils have been engaged in the park development right from the early planning stages.
"Being involved now and having the opportunity to plant their own bulbs, which we look forward to seeing bloom in future years, was a nice touch to mark their involvement.
"Our school community are all really excited and looking forward to enjoying this new greenspace in the years ahead.”
Colette Murray, headteacher at Holy Family Primary School, said: “It is such a great idea to involve the children in creating a beautiful display of daffodils in the new park.
"Every year the children will be reminded that they were there on the day the park opened.”
Once the next two phases are open, the community will have access to 40 acres of the park, which already boasts over 15,000 new woodland trees and shrubs as well as more than two kilometres of paths and fitness trails. Other developments include a new outdoor play park, designed with the input of local school pupils and installed by Broxburn-based Russell Play.
Over 500 members of the Winchburgh community, and a further 350 local primary school pupils, were involved in a detailed consultation for the park in 2018, contributing ideas and providing feedback on options for the design and layout, which will become the community’s largest outdoor recreational venue.
A significant part of the site is reclaimed from the Auldcathie landfill, which had lain unused for over 17 years. Extensive reclamation and capping works have taken place over the last two years to prepare the site.
The final park, to be completed in 2023, will be over twice the size of Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens. It will see a further 15,000 trees planted and will include a variety of different open spaces including a dedicated bike park, additional paths and fitness trails, extensive wildlife areas and a community orchard.
The viewing areas on higher ground will afford long-range views across Winchburgh and to the Forth bridges beyond.
On completion, a café with public toilets will be located in the centre of the park.