West Lothian


Principal Town: Bathgate
Population (1991):
Area (hectares): 42664
Entry Updated: 02-MAR-2020
Local Authority Contact Information

Address: West Lothian Council
West Lothian House
EH54 6QG
West Lothian is situated between Edinburgh and the Borders to the east, and Falkirk, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire to the west, with the Firth of Forth to the north. The region rises from the lowlands in the north and northeast to the Pentland Hills in the southeast and moorland in the south and west. Its 428 sq. km (165 sq. miles) are mainly used for agriculture (two-thirds) or urban development (one-tenth).

Most of the area is underlain by Carboniferous sedimentary rocks in broad strips running north-south. To the east and south are the oldest and least useful rocks while in the east-central band is a large shale oil field greatly exploited in the 19th and early 20th centuries and running along the Bathgate Hills. Large red shale bings stand prominently near Broxburn, Livingston and West Calder, and some are protected as heritage monuments. The west-central band of sedimentary and basalt rocks supplies silica sand while the area to the west (Armadale, Whitburn) is dominated by Scotland's central coalfield. The area gives its name to Westlothiana lizziae, an ancestor of the reptiles discovered in Carboniferous strata at East Kirkton Quarry, Bathgate.

The main waterways are the River Almond and the Union Canal, and its main bodies of water include several reservoirs in the Pentland Hills in the south, and Linlithgow Loch in the north.

West Lothian was earlier known as Linlithgowshire until 1975 when it became a district in Lothian Region. In 1996 it became the 20th largest of the 32 unitary authorities. Its population grew rapidly in the mid-19th century with the oil and coal industries which built boom towns throughout the area. Its main settlements include Livingston, Bathgate, Linlithgow, Whitburn, Armadale and Broxburn.
West Lothian excels in electronics, software and communications with six of its largest 10 private employers in these sectors. Its old industries of coal and oil are virtually extinct as are attempts at other industries such as automobile manufacturing. Light industry continues to grow here because of the concentration of expertise as well as for easy access to Scotland's road and rail network and to nearby Edinburgh airport.
References and Further Reading
Baldwin, John (1997) Exploring Scotland's Heritage: Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders. Second Edition, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and The Stationery Office, Edinburgh
Collard, Mark (1998) Lothian: A Historical Guide. Birlinn, Edinburgh
Craig, G.Y. and P.McL.D. Duff (1975) The Geology of the Lothians and South East Scotland. Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh
Hendrie, William F. (1986) Discovering West Lothian. John Donald Publishers Ltd., Edinburgh
Jaques, Richard and Charles McKean (1994) West Lothian: An Illustrated Architectural Guide. The Rutland Press, Edinburgh
Linlithgow Community Council (ed.) (1988) Linlithgow Town Guide. Linlithgow Community Council / West Lothian District Council
McWilliam, Colin (1978) The Buildings of Scotland: Lothian except Edinburgh. Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth, Middlesex
Whyte, Donald (1970) West Lothian, The Eastern District: Official Tourist Guide. Kirkliston and Winchburgh District Council

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

Related Entries

There are 844 related entries.

(62 Attractions, 6 Council Areas, 3 Historical Counties, 2 Families, 405 Features, 11 Parishes, 14 People and 341 Settlements)

Names that are not linked do not currently contain any information.

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better