Check out the view from Cockleroy Hill

Article in the Konect Directory, Calders edition,  September 2010

by Karen Murray

Beecraigs Country Park has plenty paths to explore plus a great children’s play park and a fishery. 

The park is criss-crossed with paths and tracks so you can find a new route every time you go and just to keep you on the straight and narrow, there are way-marked trails too. 

It's not easy to get to by public transport, so car is probably best. Either head to Linlithgow and follow the brown tourist signs from the town centre, or you can meander through Bathgate, Torphichen and you’ll pick up more signs for the park.

Park at the Visitor Centre, where you can pick up a leaflet with a map, or you can simply choose a colour and head off on a way-marked path. Perhaps the most interesting route for a first visit is a general look at what the park has to offer including the walk up Cockleroy Hill where you can get great views - on a good day of course! 

View from Cockleroy Hill

From the Centre, take the walkway through the deer farm to Beecraigs Loch. It‘s rather peaceful for a lone walker or couple and if you have kids, you can try some pond dipping. Next take a left via the trout farm - another great attraction for the children.

The walk continues along the far side of the loch until you see a burn pass beneath the road where you will turn left on to a path through woodlands to the main road. 

There are then lots of different options, but if you haven’t a lot of time or you want a smoother path, the easiest route is to walk up the road back to the Centre and then take the path through the woods signed for Balvormie. This is suitable for buggies or bikes or for simply strolling and you can entice the little ones with the reward of a play park and sometimes there is even an ice-cream van! 

Once enough fun has been had on the swings and zip wire, cross over the road and head through the woods again to the toilet - which are very clean. From here you can follow the ‘light blue’ trail through the woods. It is quite muddy but there pieces of boardwalk over the worst bits.  It will take you through a gate and over another road and onto a dirt track. At the end the path splits, the light blue trail heading left. You go through the gate on the right and then climb up onto Cockleroy Hill where you will find a triangulation pillar, viewfinder a superb view. It is fairly short and not too steep so it is a good for families with young kids. Mine are even happy to make the effort amazingly enough.

The view takes in everything from  Goatfell on Arran to the Forth Bridges and Berwick Law as well as the Bass Rock. From the Centre to the top of Cockleroy Hill will probably take a couple of hours with kids, but if you fancy just a brief walk you can park at  the Cockleroy Hill car park (where the road from Torphichen will take you) and just walk up Cockleroy Hill. It is great for a quick stretch of the legs and some fresh air and most definitely worth the climb.

© Lothian Publications Ltd