Paths Across West Lothian
-- p.a.w.l. -Working for "The Old Drove Road" in West Lothian--
PROGRESS ELSEWHERE The Old Drove Road was signposted in Falkirk from 2006 onwards.There are now 18 signs in Falkirk.The route begins near the church at Shieldhill the original site of the Falkirk Trysts. A scenic pathway has been constructed through the countryside between Shieldhill and Bridge 57 on the Union Canal. In Scottish Borders there are extensively signposted paths networks including the Cross Borders Drove Road from the West Lothian border at Cauldstaneslap to Peebles....p.a.w.l. or Paths Across West Lothian has been set up to work for links between these two areas right across West Lothian from near Falkirk to the Pentland Hills.
WHERE TO ? Well,the route is so far provisional in West Lothian.Local people have for many years given good support.Community councils too.It is hoped that we might go from Linlithgow to the scenic Beecraigs Country Park.Then over low hills to Uphall.From there we could go towards Mid-Calder,where local fairs were once held.After passing through and around the country parks of southern West Lothian fringing Livingston, we would reach the historic Cauldstaneslap Pass between East and West Cairn Hills.Then continuing on for many kilometres in Scottish Borders in the Drovers' footsteps.
HISTORY Shieldhill was the original site of the Falkirk Trysts.Around 1750,huge livestock sales were held on the moors south of the town of Falkirk.These involved thousands of cattle and sheep.Once sold,many hundreds of beasts were driven by many different routes towards England.The Drovers often chose to go over rough tracks to Linlithgow and then south across the Pentlands.
RESEARCH A lot of work has been done in finding out from old maps and records about the Drove Roads.When the turnpikes and tolls of the eighteenth century and then later more modern roads appeared, many of the traces of these routes disappeared.However a few quite well preserved drove roads have been discovered in West Lothian.You are looking for old- looking turf dykes with marker stones at each side of a rough 15 to 30m wide mainly earthen track,as heavy stones could damage animals' hooves.
PRACTICALITIES For the provisional route chosen,existing rights of ways and future proposed Core Paths are hoped to be used for practical reasons including safety but also planning.However,the historical route was often in practice up to several kilometres wide.So large were the herds.This route is to be kept to as far as possible.