Coltness and North Branchal Woods
The woodlands around Coltness and Branchal Woods are the remnants of mature estate woodlands. They now provide an attractive setting for local communities and are located along the valley of the South Calder Water, its gills and tributaries.
The river and surrounding woodland have always been known locally for their wealth of wildlife. There is a host of wildflowers and the song of resident and migrant birds in the spring, and an array of autumnal colours to enjoy before the winter comes. The area has a well surfaced network of footpaths, which are easily accessible and link the local communities, and make walking through the woods a pleasurable experience at any time of the year.
The area is rich in history. Many trees date from the period of improvement by Henry Houldsworth (1774 – 1863), owner of the estate who founded Coltness Iron Works.
The word Coltness is derived from “Coal Ness” or the “Coal Point”. Historical records show that coal has been extracted in the area as far back as the days of William Wallace, Scotland’s famous patriot.
Coltness House was used by Barnardos in the 1970s as a residential home then it became a refuse for Vietnamese ‘boat people’. The house was damaged by fire and vandalism, and was demolished in the early 1980s.
In 2008 and 2009, a grant from the Forestry Commission Scotland supported thinning and restructuring of the Coltness and Branchal Woods to benefit wildlife and create a network of well surfaced footpaths.
Excellent walks can be had in this wildlife rich area with regular sightings of dippers and herons on the river, a host of wildflowers and glimpses of the occasional roe deer. North Branchal Woods also contain good stands of native Scots pine.
North Branchal Wood