SOLD: Keps Wood £69,000 Freehold


Keps Wood, part of the larger West Mains woodland, is located on the southern fringes of the wood and looks out onto the eastern fringe of the Pentland Hills. First sight of the wood is a long strip of mixed beech and hornbeam growing atop the bank of one of several drainage watercourses that can be found throughout the wood. Entrance to the wood is via a wooden ridestop which leads onto a good hardstanding which in turn leads further on into the heart of the wood. Formerly pasture, the wood was sensitively planted with a good mix of native broadleaf around ten years ago. As the wood sits on the fringes, some ancient field boundary features with associated mature trees still remain, giving the wood a unique mixed character.

The main body of the young planting sits on either side of a shallow valley which carries a small watercourse with marshy fringes. The young trees are thriving well and a scattering of woodland floor species have moved in to replace the former pasture monoculture. The thoughtful introduction of additional native plants would give a welcome addition to the development of the woodland habitat.

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.


The woods tree population is divided distinctly by age. Along the former field boundaries and drainage courses sit a shelterbelt of beech trees; closer inspection reveals the presence of an occasional hornbeam. Very similar in appearance, they are quite a different tree and rarely found so far north. Looking further back sits a well-spaced mix of mature birch with a good scattering of native coniferous Scots pine.

The new planting is a good mix of native broadleaf; oak, aspen, alder, birch and willow. These trees, given time, will achieve considerable stature and develop into a well balanced mature woodland. Good thought has been given to the all-important understorey and holly, hazel and rowan have been included in the mix.


A walk through the wood soon reveals a network of well-trodden trails crisis crossing the woodland floor. Itinerant roe deer together with foraging badgers are creatures of habit and are the main culprits responsible for these silvan highways. Fox, stoat and weasel have less predictable habits but no doubt take advantage of these pathways.

A pockmarked rotting stem is a perfect location for a woodpecker to make its home, its staccato hammering echoing throughout the wood. A flash of blue and white in the corner of the eye is often the first sight of the shyest of the corvids; the handsome jay. Many smaller birds can be also seen foraging within the low canopy, wrens, bullfinch and great tit to name but a few.


Just behind the ridestop entrance, a firm stoney area will facilitate the management of the wood. This would facilitate a stacking and drying area for a sustainable supply of domestic firewood.

A rustic bench invites a chance to sit awhile, enjoy the views both near and far, and contemplate the rich variety of nature's bounty.

A small footbridge provides a crossing point of a small watercourse which bounds the wood. Water features are not always available within woodlands and the presence of one is a certain draw for animals ands humans alike: a very valuable and worthwhile asset.

Fringed with damp loving plants this is yet another aspect of this interesting and varied woodland.

Access, tracks and footpaths

Right of access into the wood is off a minor road and then along a firm stone track, which is accessible by most cars leading all the way to the ridestop entrance.

Moving throughout the wood is facilitated by the presence of several open grassy rides which run along the boundaries and through the centre.

Rights and covenants

The sporting rights are owned and included in the sale.


Keps 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

Although hard to believe now, this area was once the focal point of the Scottish oil shale industry which extracted several million tons of oil-bearing mineral from beneath the earth. An obvious remaining feature is the nearby Five Sisters bings. Once regarded as an eyesore, they are now seen as an ecological asset as they have now been colonised by a variety of rare plants.

The woodland at West Mains was created as part of a landscape improvement scheme initiated by West Lothian council and a local developer of nearby housing.

Keps Wood takes its name from the handmade basket which was used in and around the mines for carrying a variety of products.

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 001 605
  • Nearest post code: EH55 8LD
  • GPS coordinates: 55.8277, -3.59533

Location map


  • Keps 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 (Keps 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 200m until you come across a well-marked ridestop on the right signed Keps 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.

A delightfully varied broadleaf woodland with an open outlook, located in the central belt in rural West Calder, easily reached from Glasgow or Edinburgh

Managed by David and Sarah Alty

Telephone: 07795 104 594

Email: [email protected]