Paths and rights of way - general information
RIVER AVON HERITAGE TRAIL BENEATH TORPHICHEN BRIDGE - UPDATED 16 OCTOBER 2012
We are please to tell you that the new boardwalk has now been installed and opened for all to enjoy walks along the Heritage Trail.
ENJOY SCOTLAND'S OUTDOORS
Throughout the year there are opportunities for you to see and experience attractive outdoor places on your doorstep.
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives you some of the best access rights in the world. You have the right to be on most land and inland water for recreation, education and going from place to place, providing you act responsibly. Your access rights and responsibilities are explained in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
How to follow the Code
Take responsibility for your own actions
The outdoors is a great place to enjoy but it’s also a working environment and natural hazards exist. Make sure you are aware of this, take care of yourself and others with you, including your dog.
Respect the interests of others
Respect the needs of other people enjoying or working in the outdoors and follow any reasonable advice from land managers. Respect people’s privacy and peace of mind. Avoid causing alarm to people, especially at night, by keeping a reasonable distance from houses and gardens or by using paths or tracks.
Care for the environment
Our environment contributes greatly to everyone’s health and quality of life so treat it with care. Take your rubbish home and consider picking up other litter as well. Don’t disturb or damage wildlife or historic places. Keep your dog on a short lead or under close control where needed.
Getting out and about
Responsible access can be enjoyed over most of Scotland including:
- Urban parks
- Hills and woods
- Most grass fields and field margins
- Lochs, rivers and canals
Access rights cover many activities including:
- Informal pastimes such as walking, camping, picnicking and sightseeing
- Active pursuits including cycling, mountaineering, canoeing and horse riding
- Dog walking, provided your dog is under proper control
- Taking part in recreational and educational trips
- Simply going from one place to another
Places and activities not covered include:
- Buildings and their immediate surroundings
- Houses and their gardens
- Most land where crops are growing
- Motorised activities (unless for disabled access)
- Hunting, shooting and fishing
Look out for other good practice advice about specific activities including:
- Dog walking
- Horse riding
- Off road cycling
Countryside and outdoor access
The Land Reform Act 2003, supported by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, now gives the public significant rights of responsible access to the Scottish countryside. The code defines the responsibilities of the public and landowners in taking and providing for access for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and the disabled.
However, it is expected that the overwhelming majority of people will want to explore and appreciate the countryside by means of paths, ideally with signposts, way-markers and leaflets. The most important of these routes, particularly those in and around towns and villages, have been identified by West Lothian Council in the Draft Core Paths Plan and they will take priority for maintenance and improvement as well as being protected from development or closure. The council had a formal consultation on the draft plan in Spring 2008. This involved consultation with the people and communities of West Lothian as well as with the landowners and farmers whose land these routes will cross.
The council received 10 objections to the Draft Core Paths Plan. At present, negotiations are continuing with a number of the, as yet, unresolved objections. It is hoped that a revised plan, plus any unresolved objections, will be passed to the Minister. It is likely, however, that if there are any unresolved objections then the plan will face a Public Local Inquiry.
In the meantime the consultation material for the Draft Core Paths Plan is left for information below.
The Access Officer retired in September 2012.
In the interim, until a new appointment is made, please contact Chris Alcorn within Planning Services: 01506 282428 or firstname.lastname@example.org
West Lothian Draft Core Paths Plan - using the webpage
The complete plan would be a huge file and it is likely that someone using the webpage is interested in a particular part of the district or a specific path. For these reasons the plan has been split into 30 pdf files the bulk of which are the detailed maps and descriptions of each path in the Core Path Network. This includes two files for the SEA. Despite splitting the plan into these smaller files, it can still take some time to open an individual file.
The pdf files for the DCPP, which can be found at the foot of this page, are as follows:
DCPP 1 – Plan 1 The Core Paths Plan Map
DCPP 2 – Written Statement: Introduction, Methodology, Candidate Core Path Criteria and Informal Consultations
DCPP 3 – Plan 2 Response to Informal Consultations
DCPP 4 – Plan 3 The Core Path Diagram 2030
DCPP 5 – Plan 4 Core Path Network
DCPP 6 – Plan 5 Detailed Map Index
If you are looking for a particular area or path it is important that you study Plan 5 and read the supporting text to assist you in deciding which of files 7 to 24 are the ones you wish to view. Each Map is accompanied by a page of text. The paths which each map covers are detailed on the list below.
DCPP 7 – Map A: WL1 National Cycle Path 75
DCPP 8 – Map B: WL2a Union Canal Water Path and WL2b Union Canal Towpath
DCPP 9 – Map C: WL34 Round the Forth Cycle Path (NCN 76)
DCPP 10 – Map D: WL3 Linlithgow Loch Circular, WL7 Fisher's Brae and WL35 Linlithgow Loch to Union Canal
DCPP 11 – Map E: WL4 Linlithgow to Beecraigs Link and WL5 Beecraigs East/West Path
DCPP 12 – Map F: WL6 River Avon Heritage Trail
DCPP 13 – Map G: WL11 Winchburgh to Kirkliston and WL12 Threemiletown and Old Phipstoun
DCPP 14 – Map H: WL21 and WL22 Armadale Round Town Path
DCPP 15 - Map I: WL20 Ballencrieff Toll and Balbardie Paths and WL26 Puir Wife's Brae
DCPP 16 – Map J: WL23 Whitburn Tow Path and WL38 Blaeberry Circular
DCPP 17 – Map K: WL19 East Whitburn to Stoneyburn, WL25 Whitrigg Circular and WL39 Stoneyburn to Loganlea
DCPP 18 – Map L: WL16 West Calder to Polbeth and WL24 Fauldhouse Rail Path
DCPP 19 – Map M: WL37 River Almond to Breich Water and WL40 Almond Valley Path
DCPP 20 – Map N: WL8 Brox Burn Path and WL15 East Calder, Calderwood and Linhouse Path
DCPP 21 – Map O: WL10 Bathgate to Newbridge Cycle Path
DCPP 22 – Map P: WL9 Uphall Station to Roman Camp, WL17 and WL18 Uphall to East Calder
DCPP 23 – Map Q: WL13 Linhouse Circular, WL14 Muiravonside Trail and WL27 River Almond Water Path
DCPP 24 – Map R: WL31 Loan Path and WL32 Kilandean Path
DCPP 25 – Map S: WL28 Nell Burn Path, WL29 Railway Path, WL30 Harrysmuir Path, WL31 Loan Path and WL33 Folly Burn Path
DCPP 26 – Map T: WL36 Dechmont Law Link
DCPP 27 – Written Statement: Objectives and Policies Next Steps, Glossary and Description of Photos
The Draft Core Paths Plan has been subjected to a Strategic Environmental Assessment. This is document is divided into two files.
There have been two informal rounds of public consultation on the actual plan of core paths proposed for West Lothian. This Draft Core Paths Plan (DCCP) sets down the methodology, criteria, objectives and policies whereby this council has produced and will deliver the plan and its Core Path Network. It also describes each of the candidate core paths and maps their routes.
The enactment of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (LRA) on February 9 2005 imposed a number of duties upon West Lothian Council in its new role as an Access Authority. One of these duties was that, within three years of enactment, it had to prepare a DCPP ready for formal consultation. Guidance from the Scottish Government, which was released upon enactment, made it clear that the plan’s preparation should provide plenty of opportunity for the public and communities to contribute. This advice was reinforced in July 2005 by "Core Paths Plans - A Guide To Good Practice" that was published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Paths for All Partnership. The council has used these documents to guide its approach to the preparation of this plan and the consultation programme that has led to the final selection of candidate core paths.
The council considers that it has followed the available guidance. In particular, the two rounds of informal consultation offered many ways for the public and groups to comment and contribute to the plan’s preparation. The council has endeavoured to ensure that its plan preparation has been undertaken in a transparent way, by giving feedback to the public on comments made, most notably through two open meetings of the West Lothian Access Forum (WLAF) in March 2006 and one is organised for April 2008. The WLAF is now a statutory body under the LRA and has the sole function of advising the council on access under that act as well as the Countryside (Scotland) Act. The WLAF was established in 1997 and has a membership drawn from groups representing land management, recreation user groups and bodies that are involved in providing access across the district.