New walking trail opens celebrating West Lothian’s Shale Industry

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

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

The Shale Trail opened this week, although currently cannot attract tourists to the area as hoped, 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.

To launch the trail a drone film of the whole 16-mile was posted Facebook, so everyone could experience the wonderful route.

The Shale Trail, which runs 16 miles from West Calder to the South West of Winchburgh in the north east, has been created to bring an inspiring, enjoyable trail to locals and visitors.

As well as creating and improving opportunities for informal recreational access, the Shale Trail will inspire and enable people of all ages and abilities to explore and learn about how the development of the shale industry in West Lothian has shaped the local landscape, economy, wildlife and culture.

The Shale Trail project was funded by LEADER+ and the National Heritage Lottery and organised by ELGT (Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace Trust).

The trail is loosely based on the ‘Paraffin Young Heritage Trail’ which was first set up in the 1970s for automobile users. 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.

The Trail will unlock secrets of Scotland’s first oil rush as you walk or cycle through this beautiful green corridor. The trail showcases the varied cultural and natural histories of West Lothian. Visitors will learn every aspect of the industry and the first oil boom along the trail. There will be historical information along the route which tells the story of the ‘Shale people’ and public art to capture the imagination of visitors.

Angela Constance, MSP for Almond Valley, said: “Having grown up in the Addiewell and West Calder, the bings and their history were ever present and, in my time, have always been places of recreation.

“The launch of the Shale Trail will help preserve West Lothian’s rich local history as well as our place in Scotland’s first oil boom whilst recognising the impact this had on our community.

“The Shale Trail will provide great educational and recreational opportunities for young and old alike and will provide a nearby place for exercise and exploration. I want to thank everyone involved in developing the Shale Trail it’s a great initiative that I am sure will be valued by local people”.

Shale Trail Steering Group member Dr Robin Chesters and director of Almond Valley Heritage Trust said the trail 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 added: “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”.

More information about the Shale Trail can be found at and https://shaletrail.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/shaletrailWL.

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