Almond Valley Heritage Centre

An integrated tourist attraction in Livingston (West Lothian), the Almond Valley Heritage Centre (often referred to simply as Almond Valley) occupies an area around the former Livingston Farm and Mill in Kirkton, 1¼ miles (2 km) west of the town centre at Almondvale. The attraction includes a working watermill, a farm with a range of animals and antique farm equipment on display, the Almond Valley Light Railway, the Museum of the Scottish Shale Oil Industry, a wartime garden, together with award-winning children's activities, play areas and a nature trail.

The Almond Valley Heritage Centre began as Livingston Mill Farm in 1985 and was officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II two years later. It is run by the Almond Valley Heritage Trust, which has a mission to preserve and interpret the history and environment of West Lothian and make this heritage accessible, engaging, and enjoyable by all.

Livington Mill is a well-preserved undershot water-mill that dates from 1770 and produced oatmeal. All of the grinding equipment remains in situ and there is an associated threshing mill and butter-making house, with a water-powered churn. The farm buildings are B-listed and animals on display include highland cattle, rare-breed sheep, goats, pigs, and Clydesdale horses, together with chickens, ducks and geese.

The Almond Valley Light Railway is a narrow-gauge heritage railway which opened in 1993. It now comprises some 500m / 1640 feet of track and stations at Livingston Mill (the visitor centre) and Almondhaugh. There are internal-combustion and electric locomotives, but only the former are currently in use. These locomotives came from a range of localities, including the former Oakbank Oil Works, the Royal Ordnance Factory at Bishopton and the Nobel / ICI explosives factories at Ardeer and Powfoot.

The Museum of the Scottish Shale Oil Industry was created in 1990, to preserve the history of the world's first oil industry which developed in West Lothian. In 1850 James Young (1811-83), Edward Meldrum (1821-75) and Englishman Edward Binney (1812-82) entered into partnership under the title of E. Meldrum & Co. in Glasgow and E.W. Binney & Co. in Bathgate. Local shale was mined, crushed and then heated under pressure to release naphtha, paraffin wax, lubricating oils, lamp oil and other hydrocarbons. Their oil-distillation works at Bathgate was completed in 1851, the first commercial oil refinery. The distinctive pink shale bings of West Lothian represent the waste product of this industry.

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