Palacerigg shut on health grounds after rats infest the premises

editorial image

An infestation of rats has closed visitor facilities at Palacerigg Country Park as pest control officers move in to tackle the outbreak.

The Children’s Farm, Visitor Centre and cafeteria will remain closed while the infestation is dealt with.

Head of Environmental Assets Ken Forbes said: “We are very disappointed at having to take this action butpublic health and animal safety must come first. We have taken advice from pest control specialists and trapping has already begun.

“Our preferred method would have been bait, but this is not possible due to the presence of protectedspecies such as badgers and pine martens.

“We are liaising with Scottish Natural Heritage to ensure we are fully compliant with wildlife legislation.It is believed rats were attracted to animal feed troughs and other animal food sources.

“The farm’s animals, which include a number of rare breeds such as North Ronaldsay and Boreray sheep,Bagot goats, Tamworth pigs and Scots grey and Scots dumpy poultry, have been dispersed through the park.”

Mr Forbes added: “The cafeteria closure is purely precautionary. We have no evidence of rodent activity within this facility but cannot ignore the fact discarded food may attract unwelcome interest.

A council spokesman said: “Our in-house pest control specialists have assessed the situation and the issue is being dealt with.”

The Children’s Play Area and Children’s Tractor Trail will also close.

However, the park’s outdoor toilet facilities and hand washing facilities will remain open to the public and Palacerigg Golf Course can be accessed through the park’s main entrance.

The Open Farm Sunday event at the Park, due to be held on Sunday 5 June, has been cancelled and will be rescheduled.