Paths Across West Lothian
----p.a.w.l.-Working for "The Old Drove Road" in West Lothian----
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First Section of "The Old Drove Road" Nearer Completion...
The route called "The Old Drove Road" to commemorate the cattle and sheep droving of the eighteenth century begins in Shieldhill. It is 4 km. south of the centre of Falkirk and you get there using the B8028 and B8105. From about 1750,the original Falkirk Trysts were held near "The Place of the Tents". Located in an area adjacent to present-day Main Street in Sheildhill,up to 150,000 cattle and sheep were traded in these events.
The route in Shieldhill is well signposted from Anderson Crescent which is just east of the church off Main Street. to Easton Drive,then heads in a north-easterly direction through pleasant countryside to meet the Union Canal.
The Westquarter Burn is crossed by a metal bridge below Easton Drive, then you go downhill with the scenic wooded steep-sided valley of the burn on your right. The pathway has a good surface with several new opening gates. There are some stretches giving fine views over the Forth Valley and Ochil Hills to the north. Eventually you emerge through some attractive woodlands and find yourself at Bridge 57 on the Union Canal. British Waterways have built a stile beside the bridge and have placed "The Old Drove Road" signs on the canal towpath on either side of the bridge.
The aim at the end of this first section of "The Old Drove Road" is to use the Union Canal towpath to get to the Falkirk/West Lothian boundary.
Several of the possible routes eastwards towards Linlithgow came quite near to the present course of the Union Canal. That is though the canal was built later, after 1820. The old track from Shieldhill to the canal now being used as part of "The Old Drove Road" was part of a routeway from Shieldhill to near Westquarter and possibly thence to the old main route from Falkirk to Linlithgow.
Near the canal on the route eastwards you can view quite well preserved remnants of old tracks which may date from the period of the drovers . Also a historic ford over the River Avon near the River Avon canal Aqueduct with old tracks on both the Falkirk and West Lothian sides of the river.
1. The Old Drove Road first section, Shieldhill to Union Canal
2. Old tracks- Muiravonside Kirk and The High Road to Maddiston
3. Old tracks- The Young Wood near Polmont and the River Avon Ford