Size:

35.32 ha (87.28 acres)

Grid reference:

NS958646

Map reference:

Explorer 343
OS Landranger 65

Hidden within an urban setting, Blaeberry provides an oasis for a moment of calm or a family adventure. There are numerous paths to explore through the tapestry of broadleaf woodland, open glades and rich heathland, plus views of the Five Sisters Bings, a local landmark, to enjoy. The Bings are a remnant of shale mining in the area, which along with an agricultural past has shaped the landscape. Blaeberry supports a diverse range of wildlife including a population of rare water voles; listen for a splash in the White Burn as you pass.

Features

  • Parking nearby
  • Public access
  • Grassland
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Blaeberry Woodland

Blaeberry Woodland is situated to the south of the M8 and lies on either side of the A705 between East Whitburn and Whitburn, West Lothian within the Central Scotland Forest.

From Edinburgh, head west along the A71 and join the M8 at junction 1. Leave the M8 at junction 4, taking the A801 slip road towards Falkirk/Bathgate/Whitburn. At the roundabout, take the first exit onto the A801. Turn right onto the A705 (Main Street). Parking is permitted on surrounding roads.

The nearest train stations are Addiewell, which is 5.8km (3.6 miles) away and West Calder, which is 5.5 miles from Blaeberry Woodland. There is also Armadale train station to the north west of the site which is a 10 minute drive away (3.5 miles).

Visit www.travelinescotland.com for more information.

The nearest bus stop (701, Livingston) is 300 metres (330 yards) away on Main Street, East Whitburn.

Visit www.travelinescotland.com for more information.

Facilities and access

Most of Blaeberry Woodland is easy to access; there are 20 entrances to the site, the main being East Main Street. Access to the wood is mostly through pedestrian gaps in the fence, though there are some narrow squeeze-gap entrances and kissing gates at the southern end of the site.

There is a 5.5km path network to explore throughout Blaeberry. This consists of mown grass paths and some with a firm whin-dusted surface. There are areas which may be muddy even during drier weather.

Blaeberry's paths form links with the wider local path network providing good public access for longer routes. This includes paths which link to East Whitburn and onto Whitrigg Bing; there are also links to Fairbairn Wood, Stoneyburn and Foulshiels Wood.

There is no Woodland Trust car park at Blaeberry Woodland, but there is limited roadside parking available on surrounding roads, including Hens Nest Road.

The nearest toilets are the automated public toilets in the council car park at Armadale Road, Whitburn, around 1.6km (1 mile) from the wood.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

From cute and increasingly rare water voles to charming rabbits and grey herons, wildlife has already moved into this relatively new woodland. Look out for the shy roe deer or see if you can spot the nimble brown hare as it sprints through the grassland.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

Initially planted in 1994, Blaeberry is still a relatively young woodland with a design which reflects the layout of narrow shelterbelts. There is a mix of mostly native broadleaf trees including oak, silver birch and rowan, as well as a variety of woody shrubs such as hazel, holly, blackthorn and crab apple.

Despite its young age there is plenty of plant life to see, particularly in the open glades and heathland areas, with species such as orchids, heather, bluebells and of course the site’s namesake, blaeberry (bilberry), present on site. Sharp-eyed wildflower spotters may also encounter heath bedstraw, tormentil, spear thistle, creeping buttercup, tufted vetch, sealheal, wood avens and lady's mantle.

Look out for:

Habitats

Though Blaeberry Woodland is a relatively young wood, it boasts a diverse and rich variety of habitats which support a number of species. The wood also provides an essential wildlife corridor in an urban setting.

In addition to the woodland, there are multiple glades and heathland areas. These more open areas provide important diversity for the site, supporting species such as heather, tormentil and blaeberry, small rodents, and hunting birds of prey. The White Burn and the Bickerton Burn, as well as some small ponds, also create damp valley floors - perfect for toads and the rare water vole.

Explore:

About Blaeberry Woodland

Acquisition

The Woodland Trust was gifted Blaeberry in 1994 when the land was developed as a lowland crofting scheme, which allowed low density housing to be built within a wooded landscape. Much of the planting occurred from 1994-1996 and was designed to improve the landscape and provide areas for recreation to the local community

History

Whitburn has had a history in farming since the 17th century. Significant industrial influences include the construction of the railway line during the 1800s and coal mining in the 1900s. These industries are reflected in the landscapes which can be seen at Blaeberry Woodland today.

Some of the footpaths that pass through and around the wood and nearby open farmland follow the routes of old branch lines of the Wilsontown, Morningside and Coltness Railway. The line was opened in 1845 and connected Morningside, near Wishaw, to Bathgate, and served the thriving shale oil and ironworks of the early Victorian era, including the shale colliery at Foulshiels.

Blaeberry today consists of a series of linked blocks and shelterbelts. These are typical of mid-18th century planting within West Lothian. The remnant rectangular field pattern is likely to be a result of drainage systems which were installed to improve land quality and is thought to date from the early 19th century. Some of the old hedgerows and lines of beech trees remain but much of the field structure has now gone.

Dedication bench at Watkins Wood

Dedicate at this wood

This wood is one of more than 50 across the UK where it's possible to dedicate trees, benches or larger areas of woodland. Mark a special occasion or celebrate the life of a loved one with a meaningful gesture that lasts. 

Choose a dedication

Things to do at Blaeberry Woodland

Download

Blaeberry Woodland Management Plan

PDF  (584 KB)