Black Moss

Environment Index


Access points: The Bowling Club car park on South Street or the entrance at Avondale Drive.

Compatible for wheelchair users


Black Moss Nature Park History

1800s: It was an industrial site where parrot-coal and ironstone were extracted.  Its clay provided the raw material for brick manufacture.

c1863 - 4: The curling pond was dug out for one of the two town reservoirs, which provided the town with water until 1895.

Photograph on the right: The former curling pond, which was also used for skating. For location, go here 

1970s: The land of about 12 hectares was derelict.

1978: A Lothian Regional Council land renewal scheme enabled the land to be flattened.  Formal paths were created and trees (mainly Lodgepole pine and Sitka spruce) were planted by the CSWP.

Photograph on the left: Curling Pond, originally South Pond

1991: The present park was established by the Central Scotland Countryside Trust as part of its Village Nature Park Initiative.  Since then, it has been managed by a group of volunteers, supported by the CSFT, and its aims are:

  • to create new habitats, to manage existing ones, to encourage wildlife in the park;

  • to create a resource for environmental education;

  • to provide opportunities for recreation outside;

  • to encourage Armadalians to participate in the design, establishment and overseeing of the park;

  • to stimulate use by the local population.

1994: The pond was excavated and curling stones were found.

1996: Boardwalks were added to the southern side of the pond, with a bench along the path.

North of Stonerigg Farm and Wood Park

1996: Helen Hamilton of Black Moss Management Group wrote an article in West Lothian Wildlife Annual Review 96 describing the amenity's features and inhabitants:

  • western section: curling pond: resident mallard and grey heron;

  • moorhen, coot and little grebe breed on the small islands;

  • whooper swan (an annual visitor);

  • perch, frogs and toads;

  • dragonflies and damselflies;

  • next to the pond: two areas of remaining peat bog, heather on drier areas, common cotton grass on wetter areas (sundew grows here and small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies have been seen);

  • acid grassland area: home for a wide variety of flowers during the summer;

  • further east, a wildflower meadow: plants: eyebright, heath bedstraw, forget-me-not, tormentil, clover, groundsel and self-heal;

  • butterflies: orange tip, red admiral, meadow brown, common blue;

  • existing woodland: trees: non-native conifers were thinned; native broad-leaved trees and shrubs were planted: sesssile oak, rowan, wild cherry, hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel;

  • birds: wren, greenfinch, siskin, redpoll, grasshopper warbler;

  • undergrowth creatures: moles, hedgehogs, bank voles and weasels;

  • teaching area with log-seating.










Path towards Armadale Academy

John Boyle, BTCV Community Project Officer and team
of volunteers: (in no particular order)
John, Robert, Martin, Colin, Kevin, Vanessa, Kim

2007: No waste here!
Cutting willow whips to make
fedges (living fence/structures)


January 2007: Allocation of  46,125 from the Forestry Commission Scotland as part of the Woods In and Around Town Initiative.  It was hoped that the new funds would help to make the amenity more user-friendly by upgrading paths, by phased felling, and by replacement tree planting. 

Visitors to the park in 2007 will have noted a significant change to the appearance of the amenity.

Photograph on the right: 2007: after the phased felling, looking south towards Wood Park

December 2007: 700 trees were planted during one weekend by 100 children, from four local schools, assisted by members of the local community, including David Kerr, Chair of Black Moss Nature Park Management Group.


Frosty January morning near Blackmoss, Armadale


Frozen Curling Pond, near Wood Park, Armadale


" I remember as I was allowed more freedom and my sphere was extended into the Moss, Binnie's (formerly Stricklands) Pond where I fished for perch and the loch where there stood the Curler's hut and where we skated.  I remember the Moss itself, then completely undisturbed, which could at any one time be the fields of Flanders or the North American priaries and I remember later, after the Dutch peat cutters had abandoned the workings, leaving wide ditches two or three feet deep and stacks of peat unused, thus providing even better battle conditions with trenches and hand grenades ready made.  There was never a better adventure playground..."

Extract from I remember, article by Jim Gardiner in Fond Memories, Issue 4, June 1995, published by HAA