The village of West Calder is four miles south-east of Bathgate in West Lothian.
West Calder is a traditional Scottish village, set in the West Lothian countryside with buildings made from light grey stone. The oldest standing building is the Co-op building made for red stone, and built in 1913. The Public library was built in 1903 using funds from the Carnegie Foundation. The ruins of the old parish church which was built in 1643 can be viewed a few streets back from the main street.
West Calder flourished during the oil boom of the 1860’s, James Young had set up the world’s first oil refinery in Bathgate to extract oil from “Cannel coal”. When that ran out he switched his attention to the vast quantity of shale which lay under the majority of West Lothian.
West Calder is a very different place today. Long gone are the smoke stacks belching thick black smoke, but the remnants of the industry are still visible today in the form of five large spoils now over-grown and called the “Five Sisters”, which is now a protected industrial heritage site
There are several public houses, quaint country stores and a modern café serving delicious home baking. West Calder has become more famous for its zoo situated in the farmland surrounding the village. Established in 2005 the Zoo has grown over the years and includes rescued bears and lions among its 180 different species of mammals. Local walking routes skirt the river almond or lead beyond Polbeth park into forestry and eventually to the Pentland hills.
If you fancy tracing the past, a day trip to Almond Valley Heritage centre just ten minutes away by car and in close proximity to the Livingston Outlet Village if you fancy a bargin. There is a large soft play area for kids, situated in Polbeth, a district of West Calder.