New boardwalk extension opens at popular West Lothian nature reserve

06 July 2023

An extended boardwalk has opened at NatureScot’s Blawhorn National Nature Reserve (NNR), giving visitors even more opportunities to explore this fascinating natural area.

The 280m extension was funded by NatureScot and Drumduff Wind Farm, a joint venture by GreenPower and Thrive Renewables.

As well as creating more paths, the boardwalk also features additional seating areas for the local community and visitors to enjoy. The extension will allow more space for educational visits from local schools and interpretation panels to inform visitors about the reserve.

Blawhorn Moss, near Blackridge, is a rare survivor of the raised and blanket bogs that once covered much of central Scotland, with more than 8,000 years of history locked into the peat layers of this raised bog. Visitors to this unique habitat can search for carnivorous sundews; spot dragonflies, damselflies, heath spotted orchids and curlews; and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this hidden jewel of a nature reserve.

Amee Hood, NatureScot’s reserve manager at Blawhorn, said: “This is a wonderful example of working together to give back to the local community, and we are very grateful for Drumduff’s contribution.

“The extended boardwalk gives people so much more to enjoy and experience. Visitors can now explore more of the bog from the safety of the boardwalk, or have a seat and enjoy the peace, the stunning views and the unique wildlife.

“My team have worked very hard over this last year to improve our reserve facilities, including the access road to the car park. Thanks to this we have noticed an increase in visitors, all of whom have shared very positive feedback. We’ll continue to build on this progress, and we hope to update our information signs over the next few years and carry out further peatland restoration work to the area to improve biodiversity and tackle climate change.” 

Rob Forrest, GreenPower CEO, said: “Our wind farm lies next to Blawhorn Moss, and during public consultations with local people the desire to have more opportunities to enjoy the countryside around Blackridge was raised. Following a feasibility study, we were delighted to help NatureScot fund the installation of these new boardwalks and we are pleased to see them being so well used. Protecting peatlands and generating electricity from wind are both helping to combat climate change.”