Scotland’s Great Trail network set for £111,000 of improvement works

Conic Hill, West Highland Way

NATURESCOT has announced it is to fund almost £111,000 of improvement works to Scotland’s Great Trails network.

The public body said that the work comes on the back of the big increase in the number of people accessing the outdoors and connecting with nature over the past year – with 70% of those in the country living within five miles of a Great Trail.

The funding includes £26,000 for a community project led by the Helensburgh and District Access Trust to build a new bridge on the Three Lochs Way.

Working with the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, almost £19,000 is being invested in improvements to the popular West Highland Way at Keilator and between Ewich and Tyndrum.

The Clyde Walkway will benefit from around £20,000 for a new wooden boardwalk and the replacement of stiles with self-closing gates to make access easier. Similar work to improve accessibility is also being carried out on the Cateran Trail at a smaller scale.

Repairs and improvements to the path surface on the John Muir Way at Falkirk will also be carried out with funding of more than £26,000.

Meanwhile £20,000 has been earmarked for a partnership project led by St Fillans Community Trust to create a local path linking the old railway line between St Fillans and Lochearnhead which will form part of the Cross Scotland Pilgrim Way.

Bridget Jones, NatureScot recreation and paths manager, commented, “The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated more than ever before how important a nature-rich environment is for our physical and mental wellbeing.

“It’s encouraging that we have seen an increase in the number of people enjoying the outdoors over the past 12 months but at NatureScot we want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access these benefits.

“This funding will improve surfaces, remove barriers and increase access on some of our most popular and scenic paths and trails, making it easier for more people to connect with nature and realise all of the many benefits that can bring.”

Kenny Auld, recreation, access and health manager for Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, added, “With more people than ever looking for ways to get out and enjoy the outdoors, this funding will provide very welcome improvements both in terms of upgrading existing well-loved routes like the West Highland Way and Three Lochs Way, but also allowing new stretches to be created connecting paths and extending the network of options for people to enjoy around the national park.”