If you've a check-up at St John's or are going to an exhibition or concert or workshop at Howden Park Centre, why not make it an adventure and take the train. The nearest station is Livingston North and then it's about a 25 minute walk along the Alderstone path, and despite being all urban the walk is really nice. Livingston is the fourth of Scotland's post-war new towns and was designed in a way that feels conducive to a pretty pleasant walking (and cycling?) experience. Woodland paths run through and between all the housing estates and keep you largely hidden from the busier roads.
Other trees are old, growing there prior to the town being built. Oaks, chestnut, pines, lime, sycamore, beech and more. The wooded paths are owned or in some way affiliated with the Woodland Trust. Undergrowth is left long and natural and is excellent habitat for wildlife.
(all the species in bold have fruit/flowers/nuts that are edible and good to variously nibble on/add to cooking/infuse as tea/turn to jam. Don't use any without reading up to be sure you know what you're trying. Lots of good books and websites are available.)When you reach Howden Park you find a wide expanse of mown grassland interrupted by small copses of mature trees. In the summer months there are swallows and house martins hawking back and fore across the grass as they chase for insects. There's a walled garden hidden away at the north end of the park and a boggy little valley down below the windows of Howden Park Centre cafe - worth scanning for birds.
|pines and undergrowth|
|lots of paths|
|supported by the Woodland Trust|
|even the roundabouts are nice! Though some of that grass should ben left long for wildlife|
|St John's Hospital|
|Rowan and chimney, beautiful bark|
|spot the robin|
|approaching Howden Park|
|Howden Park (Howden House on the right)|
|secret sycamore pool|
Here's a link to another Livingston walk, not the route I took but gives a little snippet about the town's woodlands - my.viewranger.com
How to get there:
Livingston North is on the Edinburgh to Helensburgh line, trains stop there frequently.