Size:

17.61 ha (43.51 acres)

Grid reference:

NT048650

Map reference:

Explorer 349

OS Landranger 65

A hidden gem in an urban setting, Bellsquarry Wood is located on the edge of Bellsquarry Village and has a magical atmosphere. With stunning wild flowers, a family trail, varied wildlife, an orchard freshly stocked with fruit trees and a large pond, it is a wonderful wood to visit.

Features

  • Parking nearby
  • Public access

How to get to Bellsquarry Wood

Bellsquarry Wood is a 17.8-hectare (43.9-acre) site just east of the village of Bellsquarry, on the south-western side of Livingston in West Lothian, Scotland. Dedridge Burn runs through the site.

From Edinburgh, take the A71 to Bellsquarry. The wood is near the roundabout to Alderstone Road.

The nearest train station is Livingston South, around 1km (0.6 miles) from the wood.

Visit National Rail for more information.

The nearest bus stops are on Bankton Road, around 300 metres from the northern entrance, and Alderstone Road, a similar distance from the eastern entrance.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

Bellsquarry Wood has nine entrances.

There is a good network of paths with several short, circular routes as well as links with the network of paths throughout Livingston. A grassy path through the western end of the site links Bellsquarry South Road with the village. It is accessed by narrow squeeze-type entrances and leads to a bench beside an open field grazed by horses.

The main entrance routes and those around the pond are surfaced and drained, while other paths have several sections of timber boardwalk over the wet areas. The site slopes down to the burn, which is crossed by two bridges. Some sections of the wood can be muddy and wet at times.

There is no on-site parking, but parking is available in many nearby streets, particularly Calder Road and Bellsquarry Road South.

The nearest public toilet is at Almondvale Shopping Centre, Almondvale South, around 1.5km (0.9 miles) away.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

A haven for wildlife in a built-up area, Bellsquarry Wood is home to rabbits, roe deer, foxes and grey squirrels. A variety of bird species can also be found in the wood, including barn and tawny owls, buzzards, herons and sparrowhawks.

Nest boxes, bug hotels and bat boxes feature in the wood, thanks to the help of Bellsquarry Primary School pupils and volunteers, with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

Bellsquarry Wood is full of attractive flora and is a great place to watch the changing of the seasons. In spring, the woodland floor is sprinkled with vivid bluebell, violet and early purple orchid, along with splashes of buttercup and tormentil. Later in the year, the birch, beech and oak trees’ leaves inject some beautiful autumn colour into the wood.

Look out for:

Habitats

This mixed woodland features both broadleaved and coniferous trees, along with a pond and an orchard containing heritage fruit trees.

Explore:

About Bellsquarry Wood

The Woodland Trust acquired the site in 1996, following a short period of leasing from Livingston Development Corporation. The majority of Bellsquarry Wood appears on OS maps of 1860 and is classed as ‘long-established woodland of plantation origin’ on the ancient woodland inventory.

Newpark House

Bellsquarry Wood was once part of the estate of Newpark House, built in 1806. The owners built the pond, which is now home to mallards and moorhens. The once extensive garden provided fruit, vegetables and flowers for the house, and the orchard still exists. It was replanted with a variety of new trees in 2011, along with the creation of a new community orchard with the help of Bellsquarry Primary School.

Lime kiln

Towards the west of the site, there are the remains of a lime kiln and what appears to be the route of an old railway. This is now a right of way from Bellsquarry South Road to the village hall on Calder Road.

Things to do at Bellsquarry Wood

Family Trail

Venture on a family outing into the woods and take on the magical children’s trail found here. Keep an eye out for the homes of fairies and other mythical creatures in the trees, including the ‘Tootflit’, a cross between a dragonfly and a weevil, and the ‘Glingbob’, a cross between a woodlouse and a bumble bee.

There is also a giant beehive sculpture made by woodworker Robin Wood installed in the orchard, which can be found alongside grassy paths and the various nests and boxes for wildlife.

Bellsquarry Wood - Management plan

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Bellsquarry Wood Management Plan

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