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Limefield Falls

Fish Pass & Viewing Platform Construction Works

Welcome to the hub for the construction works in Polbeth that are creating a new fish pass onto the side of the Limefield Falls structure, and using this opportunity to also construct a new viewing platform.

Updates on the project will be posted below during the construction period. If you have any questions or concerns about the construction then please get in touch with the RiverLife team at Forth Rivers Trust via email or social media.

Project Updates:

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If you have photos of the river or the construction phase then click below to share them with us!

February 9th 2021:

Work progressing at Limefield Falls despite challenges ranging from increased restrictions with lockdown and some interesting weather over the past few weeks. Today, the site has a snowy cover and with temperatures set to fall potentially to -9 on Thursday, we may see the river freeze and some interesting ice formations on the falls.
With regards to progress, the main structural walls of the fish pass were completed a few weeks ago with works then starting on the stone cladding and eventually the internal workings of the fish pass. The viewing platform foundations will also be under construction shortly with the viewing platform being constructed off site and lifted into position hopefully in a few weeks’ time.
Back in December, a large flood damaged part of the weir, knocking two cope stones out. These stones were rescued and work is currently underway to fix these back in place and strengthen other stones along the top to help preserve the weir into the future.
Weather has been challenging with floods, snow and cold temperatures all slowing progress.

This is part of the RiverLife: Almond & Avon project with the works being delivered by West Lothian Council and funded by:

National Lottery Heritage Fund Scotland

The Scottish Government

Polbeth Community HUB

SEPA

November 17th 2020:

Work continues at Limefield falls to construct the new fish pass at this historic structure. Once all of the rebar was installed, the contractors were then able to start installing the shuttering which the concrete would be poured into to form the walls of the fish pass. Slowly but surely the pass has started to emerge from the base and we can’t wait to see it finished.
Our staff attend site regularly to make sure everything is going smoothly and to provide environmental advice to the contractors as they are working at a sensitive time of the year. Fish have continued to be seen jumping at the weir so we have no doubt that once complete it will be a welcome addition to the river.
As well as the fish pass, we are working with The Green Action Trust to install a new metal viewing platform for the community and visitors to get up and close with the falls.

This exciting project is being funded by:

National Lottery Heritage Fund Scotland and
The Scottish Government

in partnership with the Forth Rivers Trust and

West Lothian Council
Polbeth Community HUB

October 16th 2020:

Work continues at Limefield Falls to install the new fish pass which will allow migratory fish to get up and over this historic structure on the Harwood Water, a tributary of the Almond. The steel rods have been installed which will reinforce the concrete walls. Shuttering has been put in place to allow the concrete to be poured to form the walls and the concrete will be poured over the next few weeks.
Here are a few photos showing progress on site.
Unfortunately due to current local covid-19 restrictions, it is unlikely we will be able to hold any Q&A events on site at the moment. If rules are relaxed and things change, we will organise a day for locals interested in the project to meet staff and ask questions. In the meantime though, if you have questions about the project please message us via facebook or email riverlife@forthriverstrust.org
West Lothian Council
National Lottery Heritage Fund Scotland
Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
Polbeth Community HUB

October 5th 2020:

One of the benefits of the work at Limefield falls is that staff have easy access to below the falls. Jacquelyn was out on site having a look at how the works were progressing after all of the rain over the weekend and managed to film the water tumbling over the weir in slow motion. You can see a fish raise its head just in front of the middle of the weir a few seconds into the video!
Thankfully the high river didn’t inundate the work site and work was able to continue to build the new fish pass at the falls.
The concrete base has been laid as can be seen below, and the fish pass can now start to be built.

September 29th 2020:

Work continues at Limefield Falls to install the new fish pass. Work has been slow due to unforeseen issues drilling the rock to install the base concrete pillars which the fish pass will be built on. Drilling of the concrete pilings into the rock took longer than first thought but these are in and the fish pass can now be built.

 

We hope to run a community event where members of the public can meet staff and ask questions about the project. However, we are assessing current Government guidance on Covid-19 to see if this can still proceed. Once we get advice and come up with a plan which would protect staff and the public we will send out details of this event if it can proceed.
In the meantime, if you have questions about the project or would like more information, please either comment below, message the page or email riverlife@forthriverstrust.org.
Progress from within the site can be seen below.

September 4th 2020:

Work has begun on the Limefield Falls fish pass, on the Harwood water, which will allow all migratory fish to move unhindered up and downstream and provide access to old spawning habitats once more. Though, it’s not all about the fish, we’re also building a viewing platform for visitors to the falls.
With this being week 3 then there’s a fair amount happening on site. The bedrock is being cut out, with tractors moving up and down the river bank. Despite all this machinery and noise, the resident dippers and kingfishers are still using the area, plus the brown trout continue to aimlessly jump the falls.
Watch the rate at which the water level changes half way through the video, its quite impressive after that bit of rain!
We have our first question and answer session at the event next week, with Jamie, one of the archaeologists that did the survey at the falls. See our events page on Facebook to book your place.
With thanks to @Cubby @GreenActionTrust

August 10th 2020:

Work has started at the Limefield Falls site in Polbeth (West Lothian) as part of the RiverLife Project. Upon the Harwood water, a tributary of the river Almond, based south-west of Livingston. Ironically, the structure built around 1880 by James ‘Paraffin’ Young, is the only barrier to fish migration that serves its original purpose of being purely decorative!
It was built to honour the explorer and missionary David Livingstone, who was a friend of Young’s- often staying at his house (Limefield House) and even visiting his one of his oil works. While a few layers of stone have been removed from the top, making the structure shorter, it was designed to look like Victoria Falls in Zambia.
We are working with West Lothian Council (with funding from WEF) to construct a fish pass into an old lade that was added later for irrigation of the orchards and gardens of the house. We are also working with Green Action Trust (formerly CSGNT) to take this opportunity to link in the construction of a new viewing platform of the falls.
The construction company, Cubby, are on site now and we hope to bring you updates over the next few weeks. Along with some videos, community involvement and wildlife findings.