Seafield Law

(Seafield Bing)

A former oil shale bing which now forms part of a local nature reserve, Seafield Law rises to 200m (656 feet) a quarter-mile (0.5 km) north of Seafield in West Lothian. The summit provides excellent views over the surrounding countryside, while after re-profiling the bing has been allowed to develop a natural flora and fauna.

The bing comprises the spoil from Seafield and Cousland shale mines, extends to cover an area of 12 ha (30 acres) and rose to a height of 53m (174 feet) above the surrounding landscape. It represents a monument to an industry which extracted oil from shale by heating and was pioneered in 1858 in West Lothian by James 'Paraffin' Young (1811-83). The shale was deposited in lagoons during the Carboniferous period, some 340 million years ago. The bing was abandoned in 1932 and many years later became a tip for domestic rubbish. However, a land rehabilitation scheme saw the former Lothian Regional Council, West Lothian Council and the Scottish Development Agency collaborate to reshape the bing into a distinctive crag-and-tail, reminiscent of ice-carved geomorphological features found elsewhere in the county. This formed an impressive landmark within West Lothian's first Local Nature Reserve, which was designated in 2007 and includes the adjacent Easter Inch Moss. The reserve extends to 143 ha (353 acres) and also forms a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The project was recognised in the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning in 1998.

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