SOLD: Gatton Wood £59,000 Freehold


This young woodland of alder, aspen, birch, and Scots pine is surrounded by farmland and less than an hour drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Formerly fertile agricultural land, Gatton Wood was planted with native species to increase amenity woodland. The trees are growing very well and the diversity of the woodland floor will further increase as time goes by and new species inevitably move in. As woodland flowers are quite slow to re-colonise, careful and considered planting would accelerate their arrival and have a very positive benefit.

For such a modest location and recent history, the range of habitats is quite surprising. The western fringe is bounded by an ancient hedge line topped with a line of historic beech, this gives way to an area of mature birch before the young planting begins. The central area is quite level before a gentle slope leads down to a marshy area that drains under a culvert to the east.

The absence of footways through the wood gives a feeling of privacy and seclusion; without a doubt a wonderful place to relax and enjoy nature in all its glory.

The purchasers of the woodland will be asked to enter into a covenant to ensure the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of adjoining woodlands and meadows.

There is a growing interest in hut, bothy and temporary shelter building, especially in Scotland; for those interested in erecting a hut or shelter, here is some interesting and very helpful guidance from Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Hut Campaign. Your Local Planning Authority should also be consulted.


A wide variety of native broadleaf species are well mixed and evenly distributed across the wood. Aspen, birch, alder, ash and a good scattering of oak are the main examples. A line of much older beech trees marches along the western boundary marking an ancient hedge line. To the east of this is a small stand of pre-planting birch with a central patch of Scots pine.

Holly, hawthorn and hazel, although currently of similar stature to the rest of the trees, will soon be overtaken, so forming the all-important understorey. A band of self-seeded willow inhabits the fringes of the marshy areas.


Although in its enviable youth, the wood has already attracted a thriving population of deer. Frogs and newts can be found in the marshy areas together with soft rush and a variety of mosses. An early succession plant, rosebay willow herb has become established in the centre of the wood. Often dismissed, it is important in its own right being the food species of choice of the elephant hawk moth. Both adult and caterpillar are equally spectacular and worth looking out for. Buzzards and herons are frequent visitors and several varieties of tits and finches can be seen throughout the low canopy.


A hard area is located behind the ridestop entrance with a rustic bench looking into the treescape. A marshy area that drains through a culvert under the access track provides a different landscape within the wood. A vital habitat for amphibians, this area adds interest and further variety to the overall woodland.

Access, tracks and footpaths

Access into the wood is off a minor road and then along a firm stone track, which is accessible by most cars, this leads all the way to the ridestop entrance.

Moving throughout the wood is relatively easy as the trees are still relatively small. Regular visits to the wood will develop habitual paths which will be hijacked by deer keeping them free from overgrowth.

Rights and covenants

The sporting rights are owned and included in the sale.


Gatton Wood is an exciting opportunity to acquire woodland in an early stage of development. Careful management and gentle intervention and guidance will ensure growth into maturity and diversity. Due to its position close to the major conurbations in the central belt, it would make an excellent bolt hole for those wishing to take a break from city life. Its diversity of habitat means that a wildlife watcher will always discover something new to stimulate interest.

Local area and history

It can be difficult to imagine that this part West Lothian was once the focus of a large-scale oil shale extraction industry from which around 3 million tonnes of oil shale was extracted each year for more than half a century, from 1865.

One reminder of this industry remains, in the form of the piles of reddish spoil that remain dotted around the area. These “bings” are now regarded as a contributor to biodiversity because of the unique habitat they offer. The most spectacular of these "bings" can be seen from the wood and are known as the Five Sisters. Its five elements fan out like the extended fingers of a hand from the "palm" on their east side to the steeply sided "fingertips" on their west side. Today the Five Sisters is protected as an industrial heritage site and features as part of the logo of West Lothian Council.

A Gatton in colloquial Scots, in mining terms, refers to a channel cut into the floor of a mine roadway to allow water to drain away.

Wood maps

This wood is now sold, please do not visit the wood without the permission of the owner.

Find this wood

This wood is now sold, please do not visit the wood without the permission of the owner.


  • OS Landranger: OS No. 65
  • Grid ref: NT 000 607
  • Nearest post code: EH55 8LD
  • GPS coordinates: 55.8297, -3.59664

Location map


  • Gatton Wood Wood is about 18 miles west of Edinburgh and about 30 miles east of Glasgow

For Directions From Bing Maps CLICK HERE enter your own postcode (Gatton Wood entrance coordinates are already entered) and click on the blue "Go" box.

For Satnav; the postcode EH55 8NR is for the point shown by the red dot on the location map and coordinates are:N55:49:33 and W3:36:23

Or use our directions:

  • From West Calder take the A71 west, signposted Kilmarnock.
  • Bear left onto the A704 signposted Lanark(A706)
  • Follow a sharp right hand bend and take the next left signposted Woolfords and Auchengray.
  • Pass Rusha farm on the right and cross a small stream.
  • Travel alongside a belt of Scots pine and beech.
  • Take the next left through the trees into West Mains Crofts.
  • Continue to the end of the private road past the houses, this eventually becomes a stoned track leading to a deer fence and gate.
  • Drive through the gate and park immediately on the left taking care not to block the track, please make sure to shut the gate behind you.
  • Continuing on foot follow the stone track to the right through the wood for about 600m until you come across a well-marked ridestop on the left signed Gatton Wood.

How we support our buyers

Membership of the small woodland owners’ group

£300 for a woodland course of your choice

Free copies of our woodland book

One year's free membership of the royal forestry society

Please note this wood is owned by woodlands.co.uk.

Our regional managers are often out working in our woodlands, so if you email an offer and want to be sure it has been received, please phone our manager on their mobile phone. The first offer at the stated price which is accepted, whether by phone or email, has priority.

Please take care when viewing as the great outdoors can contain unexpected hazards and woodlands are no exception. You should exercise common sense and caution, such as wearing appropriate footwear and avoiding visiting during high winds.

These particulars are for guidance only and, though believed to be correct, do not form part of any contract. Woodland Investment Management Ltd hereby give notice under section 21 of the Estate Agents Act 1979 of their interest in the land being sold.

An interesting and unusual mixed woodland with a variety of habitats located in West Lothian, easily reached from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Managed by David and Sarah Alty

Telephone: 07795 104 594

Email: [email protected]