Funding boost for Scottish RSPB reserve


Plans to make RSPB Scotland's Loch Lomond nature reserve, West Dunbartonshire, more accessible have been boosted by a National Lottery grant.

The proposals for the reserve near Gartocharn are centred on the creation of a new 1.3 km path that will link the shoreline of the iconic loch with the nature reserve's existing path network and visitor hub for the first time.

The plans took another step forward after the site received £242,800 in support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with work set to get underway later in the year.

A new footpath will link the visitor hub (pictured) with the Loch Lomond shoreline (Richard Sutcliffe).

Once the path construction is completed a new programme of activities based around it will begin – with plans including viewing areas and interpretation detailing what wildlife visitors might see, and a design to allow for better access for visitors with varying mobility needs as well as buggies and prams.

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The programme has been designed with local organisations Green Routes, Choices School, Tullochan and Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) specifically for the needs of the communities they work with. Activities will be tailored towards young people in the local area with learning difficulties and others facing disadvantages in the job market, as well as pupils with additional support needs who have left mainstream education.

Roles for a new community outreach officer and a trainee community and education officer will also be created.

Paula Baker, RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond site manager said: "We're absolutely delighted to have received this support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Wildlife Trail to Loch Lomond will provide opportunities for many more people to experience the incredible nature in this part of Scotland, especially young people in the local community.

"The pandemic has shown just how important but unequal access to greenspaces is. The new path and the programme of activities around it will provide an amazing place for people's mental and physical wellbeing to benefit from nature, and inspire them to take action to safeguard its future."