Where is it?
This large area of what is now protected countryside, lies to the north of Seafield village and to the east of Blackburn. The National Cycle Route 75 passes through it, between Bathgate and Livingston, and other paths from Seafield and Blackburn provide easy routes to get to it.
What is it?
The Easter inch Moss part is a 200 acre drained bog that was once worked for peat. To the east of this is an oil shale bing that has been shaped to form a natural hill in the landscape that can be seen from miles around.
And, why a Local Nature Reserve?
It is now an area of land protected for local communities because of its wildlife interest, its educational value and its importance as a large wild green space in an increasingly built-up area, where people can walk and enjoy open air. It is the first to be created in West Lothian and was officially made a Local Nature Reserve on 22nd of Febuary 2007.
After the peat digging ended there was a scheme to improve the area for farming in the 1960s. It was drained and sown with grass but then nothing happened and nature began to take over once more. The fodder grasses were replaced with wild grasses and flowers, including heather, and scrub and trees began to take over. The ditches began to block-up and areas again became boggy, especially at the end nearest the bing.
It’s now becoming a haven for wildlife. Over 140 different plants have been recorded, 11 of which are rare in West Lothian, but there are still a lot more to be discovered.
A great variety or birds can be found, reed buntings and short-eared owls being quite special. There are also butterflies, moths and damselfies and, in the wet areas, frogs, toads and newts. In the woods roe deer hide and brown hare can be found in the open areas. There are a lot of other animals not seen. For example, it can be expected that otters pass through since they now can be found on all rivers and burns in West Lothian.
The wildlife on the Law is less rich because it was only created in 1996. But, as the trees grow and scrub areas develop, it too will become a refuge for all kinds of wildlife in the area of West Lothian that is becoming more and more built up.
The nature reserve is a wildlife sanctuary, and it will get better and better.
How is it going to be looked after?
The whole area is owned by West Lothian Council but, as a Local Nature Reserve, it is important that the local communities have a say in how it is looked after and developed for future generations.Before being protected as a nature reserve people in Seafield and Blackburn were met and their views taken into account. This provided the start for the writing of a 5 year management plan which is now being implememnted.
A management group of community members has been set up and, working with the council’s ranger service and other staff, it has the task of looking after and improving the reserve over coming years.
Where can I find it?