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Bathgate Hills

A range of low rolling hills in West Lothian, the Bathgate Hills lie to the east of the River Avon, extending north from Bathgate to Linlithgow and rising to a height of 312m (1023 feet) immediately to the west of The Knock. The range includes the Torphichen Hills, Hilderston Hills, Kettleston Hills and the Riccarton Hills, and are largely comprising of ash and lava piled up by volcanic activity during the Carboniferous era. The hard igneous rock was quarried for road-making, while limestone was processed to produce lime for agriculture and building-mortar at various localities, coal was mined at Hilderston, and silver and lead were extracted to the north of The Knock at Silvermines. The Ballencrieff Water rises among the Bathgate Hills. There are Iron-Age hill forts on Cockleroy Hill and Bowden Hill, whilst Cairnpapple Hill has a remarkable archaeological history, with a henge and ancient burials. A number of upland farms lie amongst these hills, providing relatively poor arable land and rough grazing. Trees were planted as shelter belts and to provide pit-props for nearby coal and oil-shale mines.


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