New district park opens in Winchburgh

OVER 100 Winchburgh schoolchildren have gathered to plant bulbs in celebration of the opening of Scotland’s largest new park.

It comes as part of the opening of phase one of Auldcathie District Park, with the bulbs set to add extra colour to a new avenue once spring arrives.

Once the next two phases are open, the West Lothian community will have access to 40 acres of the park – which boasts over 15,000 new woodland trees, as well as over two kilometres of paths and fitness trails.

Over 500 members of the community and 350 local primary school pupils were involved in the detailed consultation for the park in 2018, which resulted in them contributing ideas and providing feedback on options for its design and layout.

Due for completion in 2023, Winchburgh Developments Limited said that it will be over twice the size of Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens – with a further 15,000 trees due to be planted, as well as the creation of a dedicated bike park, additional trails and ‘extensive’ wildlife areas.

The viewing areas on higher ground at the park will afford long-range views across Winchburgh and to the Forth bridges beyond. On completion, a café with public toilets will be located in the centre of the park.

John Hamilton, CEO, Winchburgh Developments Limited, said, “Auldcathie District Park is one of the ‘jewels in the crown’ of our masterplan for Winchburgh and it’s fantastic to open the first phase for the local community to enjoy. After £8 million worth of investment and extensive reclamation works, it’s great to finally see the land come back to life. We recognise the importance of quality outdoor spaces for both physical and mental wellbeing of the community here, which is why we have invested significantly in this project.”

Fiona Hyslop, MSP, added, “Auldcathie District Park will be a wonderful asset for the Winchburgh and wider West Lothian community and will add more fantastic leisure and open space for local residents.”

Ian Harvey, head teacher at Winchburgh Primary School, commented, “It was fantastic to have the pupils of Winchburgh Primary included in celebrating the opening of Auldcathie park. Over the past years the pupils have been engaged in the park development right from the early planning stages. Being involved now and having the opportunity to plant their own bulbs, which we look forward to seeing bloom in future years, was a nice touch to mark their involvement. Our school community are all really excited and looking forward to enjoying this new greenspace in the years ahead.”