Livingston is my home for more tan 5 years by now. Many people would say there is nothing to do in the area apart from Shopping Center, which is huge and there is even a nice piece of contemporary art in mail hall - kinetic sculpture under the dome, and Almond valley heritage center which is super fun to go with kids as they have miniature railway, farm animals where you can see highland coos, carting, camera obscura, picnic area and many more (including the words's oldest fossil reptile listed in Guiness Words record book). But I always loved more hidden and secret places, which is harder to find and probably they would nit compete to more touristic destination, but still atmospheric and beautiful.
Here is my personal list of places around Livingston (10-15 minutes drive, no further than 10 miles away) that I love and think they deserve to be visited at least once.
Yes, Livingston is famous for not only dead lizards, but also for only one in whole UK case of UFO attack on human that officially been investigated by Scotland yard. You can find more info and map here. It's a nice short walk in woods and there are many blooming sally flowers at the end of July there, so its nice spot for selfies. Plus you can see Edinburgh castle absolutely for free from top of the hill :)
Just across the M8 from Dechmont lawn there is a cool spooky spot - Abandoned hospital village. It been filmed in The jacked - psychological thriller with Adrien Brody in main role. Unfortunately, the Hospital village been turned into development area in June 2020 and I am not sure if its still open for public. Here is some shots I made back in 2018 and 2019. Hope they will keep at least part of the village as it was original.
This magnificent church is stunning! we made a spooky Halloween photoshoot there with Darja.
Here is the pictures
Its full of walking routes and cycling tracks. You can spend a nice picnic there. Especially beautiful when its spring and everything is in bloom. My favorite spot there - covered footpath under the Almondell viaduct
3. Midhope castle, Abercorn church and graveyard and hidden footpath to river Forth
Midhope castle is one of the filming location for Outlander TV series. Nowadays (2020) you need to pay £3 for getting closer to it. But at my taste - the best instagramable spot is just behind the gates. There is nothing inside or around castle, so it's not much to pay for. But you can take a foothpath starting on your right before the gates to the castle. It will take to wee ruined bridge and mansion, and you can walk to beautiful and tranquil Abercorn church with 16th century graveyard. You will find gravestones there with only pictures and no letters as in 15th-16th century no much people could read, so they made pictures to remind who been buried here. It's also another Outlander filming location.
Church and graveyard
4. Linhouse glen and circular , Linn water and Cairns castle
Linn water and Linn jaw waterfall are also absolutely gorgeous! I will make another full post about the waterfall next time as I made a wee photoshoot there.
Cairns castle is just small ruined tower on a lake edge that seems to be on someone's private land (just at the backyard of the house), so I am not sure if it possible to go into it. It looks dreamy and if you are a photographer the bonus point is that no one there! The reason I put these three spots together is that they all near and in same direction from Livingston. So you can have full day outdoors and no much driving around.
The Circulat and Linhouseglen
Linn jaw waterfall
Cairns castle and water reservoir near
5. Cairnpapple hill, Witch craig wall, Ravencraig woods and Torphichen preceptory
Another bunch of curiosities that situated 5 minutes away from each other.
The first on the route - Ravencraig woods which are just after east side of Bathgate. There is a very beautiful alley with old beech trees you drive through and a walking path through the woods and fields linking the track with Cairnpapple hill.
Cairnpapple hill is one of the oldest pagan ceremonial places in Scotland. No wonder Torphcihen church is just near - religions changing, sacred place all the same. There are some standing stones in area too. One circle you will see on your right just before road go downhill after the forest. I haven't found any info on it but there is an access to those stones from the side road.
About 20 minutes walk from Cairnpapple hill you will find Korean war memorial and Witch craig wall and viewpoint. The wall is shelter incorporates 43 rock specimens from locations in Central Scotland which can be seen from this site. Ypu can also find a little curiosity - Refuge stone just. Based a couple of steps from viewpoint - the 12th century slab with cross marks the boundary of Torphichen which was held by the Knights of St John Hospitallers in 1124. And same as with sacred places - this stone was probably recycled from older standing stone. Some of them still could be seen in Torphichen preceptory which is only 5 minutes drive.
Ravencraig woods and Bathgate hills
The beech alley. I made couple of photos there with my friend you can find at this post
The standing stones
The vies from Cairnpapple hill are fantastic! They say when the weather is good you can see Isle of Arran on wets side and Bass rock on east. What I definitely saw - Forth bridges and snow peaks of Highlands
Korean war memorial and Witch craig viewpoint
Torphichen preceptory and graveyard
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