News at Beecraigs

News and what on at Beecraigs

Country Park Closures

The following services within our country parks are CLOSED:

  • Almondell & Calderwood Country Park - Visitor Centre, public toilets, play area and BBQ area.  As of 24/03/2020 the North and South car parks are closed and should not be used.
  • Beecraigs Country Park - Visitor Centre, Balvormie public toilets and play area, Sutherland Building, Animal Attraction viewing shed, BBQ area, the Beecraigs Caravan & Camping Site, mountain bike trails and Skills Area.  As of 24/03/2020 all car parks will remain closed.  The Hideaway Cafe at Beecraigs is also closed.
  • Polkemmet Country Park - West Lothian Leisure facilities, the Scottish Owl Centre, public car parks, play areas and public toilets.  As of the 24/03/2020 all car parks will remain closed and should not be used.
  • All Ranger Service events and bookings have been cancelled until further notice.

There is a need to follow national NHS and Government guidance and difficult decisions have been made to close services within Parks & Woodland in the best interests of public and staff health as the public health threat from Coronavirus escalates.  It is vital that social distancing, keeping 2 metres apart and avoiding gatherings is observed.

Fresh air and being outdoors benefits physical and mental wellbeing, and our Country Parks are accessible to local visitors.

Please avoid unnecessary travel and do not drive to West Lothian's Country Parks.  Please enjoy your local outdoors responsibly and maintain Social Distancing.

On 9 April 2020 the Scottish Government issued guidance on access rights during the current coronavirus emergency applicable under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code:-

  • Stay local - please do not travel in your car to take exercise; please make use of the paths, open spaces and quiet roads in your own local area
  • Maintain your distance - please stay at least 2 metres away from other people and if possible try to avoid busy times on popular paths or places
  • Respect the health and safety of farmers and others working the land - please follow all reasonable requests and signs to avoid particular areas, such as farmyards, fields with pregnant or young livestock, and other busy working areas
  • Keep your dog under control - please put them on a lead or keep them close at heel and do not let them approach other people or livestock
  • Avoid contact - try to avoid touching surfaces and if possible plan a route that does not require you to open gates

Thank you for your continued support over these challenging weeks, your patience and understanding is very much appreciated.

Please help us limit the spread of Coronavirus.  For further information:

Tree Felling next to Cockleroy Car Park, Beecraigs Country Park

Cockleroy Forestry Operations

The woodland at Beecraigs Country Park is carefully managed by the council to provide a fantastic resource for local residents to enjoy our stunning natural environment. We balance the needs of retaining woodland areas to provide shelter for visitors and wildlife alike and, at the same time, ensuring that the woodland is regenerated for visitors to enjoy in the future.

A long-term forest plan was approved in 2013 by both the council and the Forestry Commission Scotland.  This includes the plans for the gradual regeneration of the forest, such as tree felling, thinning and replanting as required, especially in areas where high winds have affected trees. Any income generated by tree felling is put back into replanting, path upgrading and drainage improvements at Beecraigs and in other woods.

The majority of the area of Sitka spruce which has been felled at Cockleroy is owned by the neighbouring farmer.  A smaller number of trees have been felled on an adjacent area of council-owned land after both were affected by wind. The area of Scots pine on the top of the hill has largely been retained, and it is our intention to replant the felled area on council land with Silver birch, Oak and Scots pine.

Many local residents are well aware that Beecraigs is a managed woodland, and we take steps to ensure they are kept informed of any work that is ongoing. Prior to each phase of felling and replanting / thinning work, temporary noticeboards explaining the woodland operations were put up at appropriate locations around the country park and information placed on the council website and social media channels.  

The timber produced from Beecraigs is Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and the woodland management is independently audited under the UK Woodland Assurance Scheme (UKWAS). This includes ensuring that woodland management takes due cognisance of biodiversity, for example special care taken to protect badgers setts during the most recent work.  Our management has been audited as part of a group scheme by forest ecologists who have praised the varied habitats and forest management which continues to enhance these.

All the areas which were felled in previous years have been replanted, with a number of tree planting events giving young people and the wider public the opportunity to contribute to Beecraigs' new sustainable woodland for future generations.