Almondell Historic Wall & Heritage Project
Updates on the Almondell Historic Wall & Heritage Project
Community Heritage Trail
Thanks to the Friends of Almondell & Calderwood, our wonderful new Community Heritage Trail is now available to follow when visiting Almondell. Printed copies are available at the Visitor Centre.
As part of the Almondell Historic Wall Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Heritage Trail was developed to highlight the significant built heritage features of Almondell together with the restoration of the walled garden. All in all, nine boards were produced telling the story of Almondell including the Nasmyth Bridge, Camps Railway Viaduct, the Kirkhill Pillar and Mandela Suspension Bridge.
The Trail leads through the lovely leafy woodlands of Almondell and along the course of the River Almond taking a step back in time to explore its varied history.
The Friends took on the challenge of researching and producing the Community Heritage Trail in 2020 with a dedicated group working through the challenges of the pandemic to gather, discover and uncover a wealth of information. A volunteer graphic designer helped to develop the overall design of the interpretative boards.
Timber from the joint running Almondell Woodland Management Project was harvested and then cut with a mobile sawmill in Almondell and used to construct the frames for the boards, adding to the sustainability of the project. The Friends then used their joinery skills to construct the frames, mount the boards and then installed by hand.
The Trail is a wonderful asset providing opportunity to learn about the history of Almondell and local area and inspiring others to get involved and help look after their environment.
Almondell Historic Wall and Heritage Project Update
This project was funded by Heritage Lottery Scotland with support from West Lothian Council through planning contributions, Sustrans ArtRoots and the Coop.
Following a delay due to adverse weather and coronavirus restrictions in 2020, restoration of the old 'C' listed historic wall in Almondell progressed well over Summer and Autumn 2021 with construction completed in the September.
Collapsed sections of the wall were taken down, foundations and drainage installed, the wall carefully rebuilt by stonemasons and then repointed using a traditional lime mortar mix. Stone from the wall in the disabled car park was used as a source of local stone.
The wall was carefully monitored and regularly inspected by the landscape architects who were project managing the restoration and by the local authority in order to ensure specification and sustainability for the future.
Following the wall restoration, the area around its boundary was carefully landscaped by the Parks & Woodland team in preparation for future planting by the Friends of Almondell and other teams of volunteers.
A training session for staff and volunteers was led by Scott Build in May 2021 detailing the history of wall building and a demonstration of traditional lime mortar pointing.
Almondell & Calderwood Country Park's 50th Anniversary
An Open Day celebrating Almondell & Calderwood Country Park's 50th Anniversary as a Country Park was held in October 2021 where the public were invited to come and find out about the Heritage Project through fun games, activities and bulb planting in the garden area surrounding the wall.
Around 100 pupils from St Pauls and East Calder Primary School joined in with heritage game activities in the walled garden, joined in on a pointing demonstration by Scott Build, helped plant trees on the south drive, viewed the harvested trees being milled through the mobile sawmill and helped plant thousands of daffodils to provide an annual display.
Forest Therapy sessions were also led to allow visitors to better enjoy the woodland areas and Jonny Chainsaw also demonstrated sculpture creation using some of the wood harvested from Almondell.
The Friends of Almondell also led walks from the Walled Garden to other heritage features in the Park that will be highlighted by a community heritage trail.
During the winter, the Friends of Almondell further prepared the areas around the wall and started the planting of new orchard trees to emulate the orchard that once stood in the Walled Garden. Apple, plum and cherry trees were planted and it is hoped they will yield fruit for the community to enjoy. An espalier was constructed using timber harvested from the woodland management project and demonstrates how trees were grown 200 years ago.
Thanks also to visitors for your patience while work is ongoing.