Scottish walkers to benefit from 100 miles of new paths
More than 100 miles of new and improved paths are being created across Scotland as part of a scheme to boost outdoor access for more people.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is celebrating the construction of hundreds of routes through Improving Public Access (IPA), part of the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme.
The new and improved paths will connect towns and villages and provide a variety of ways to explore the outdoors in coastal areas, along riverbanks, to viewpoints and around farmland.
Some of the paths will also form part of longer distance routes, such as the John Muir Way.
SNH has been working with the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) to deliver the scheme, which is worth £8.5 million.
Since opening in 2015 to farmers, local authorities, charities and community groups, a wide range of projects have benefitted with funding to improve existing paths or create new ones.
Examples of path projects
In Dumfries and Galloway, St Ninian’s cave near Whithorn, said to be the retreat of Scotland’s first saint, can be more easily reached by the improved coastal path.
An easier access path has been built at the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre, near Fort William, where previously tree roots and muddy hollows restricted some people from enjoying the riverside walk.
Some of Scotland’s longer distance routes have also seen improvements, including sections of the South Loch Ness Trail and the Rob Roy and Speyside ways.
SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said: “Scotland’s stunning countryside is one of our greatest assets, both for residents and visitors.
“We know that more people than ever before are visiting the outdoors on a regular basis which is great news given the many benefits for physical and mental health of getting outside.
“Good quality and well sign-posted paths can make it easier for more people to enjoy our great outdoors so with summer ahead it’s fantastic to be able to celebrate the success of this scheme in delivering so many quality routes across the country.”