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Board adopts Core Paths Plan for Park

19th March 2010

The board of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has given the official seal of approval to the Core Paths Plan, having been instructed by the Minister for the Environment to do so.

The CNPA board, meeting in Glenlivet today (Friday 19 March), agreed that the adoption of the Core Paths Plan would lay the foundations for an effective network of paths in the Cairngorms National Park for years to come.

Prepared by the CNPA following extensive consultation with the public, businesses, land managers and other organisations, the Core Paths Plan represents a network of new and existing tracks, roads, pavements and water courses in the Park totalling 932 km or 579 miles. The Plan will encourage more people into the outdoors and will help land managers to manage access across land and water as well as provide the basis for a programme of improvements that will deliver a wide range of social, economic and environmental benefits.

Speaking at the meeting Senior Outdoor Access Officer, Bob Grant said: ” We have many people to thank for helping us reach this important milestone in the history of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, especially the communities of the Park who have provided a wealth of information and advice on the paths that are important in their areas.

“The challenge for us now is to implement the Core Paths Plan and ensure that there is a high quality network of paths in place in, around and between communities that meet the needs of residents and visitors.

“The vast majority of core paths identified are indeed around and between communities but there are one or two that link through the heart of the mountains and in a first for Scotland, the surface of the River Spey within the National Park as a core path. This will result in a better managed river catering more effectively for the needs of the diverse range of users.”

David Green, convener of the CNPA board said: “Now that the Core Paths Plan has been adopted, the development of a more integrated network of paths for a wider range of people and abilities to enjoy the special qualities of the Cairngorms National Park can be taken forward. Once completed the work will allow users to move around and enjoy the Park more easily while minimising conflict with farmers, foresters and estates who manage the land.

“I think this is a historic and important day for the Cairngorms National Park Authority and I look forward  – working in partnership with the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust  – to delivering a Core Paths network that we can all be proud of.”

Commenting on the adoption of the Core Paths Plan, Paul Corrigan, chair of the Cairngorms Local Outdoor Access Forum said: “The adoption of the Core Paths Plan is indeed a red letter day in the history of the Park. It is a statutory function and the Cairngorms Local Outdoor Access Forum has been intrinsically involved with the creation of the Core Paths Plan from the outset.

“Forum members are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and expertise representing landowners, community groups, recreational interests and public agencies. As such, their collective knowledge, valued opinions and passionate commitment to the Core Paths Plan process has been invaluable. As a forum, we now look forward with continued enthusiasm to provide sound advice and support to both the CNPA and the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust in the implementation of a high quality paths network which should only enhance and encourage responsible and enjoyable access throughout the National Park.”

The core paths network caters for all types of users from walkers, cyclists and horse-riders, to people with disabilities and canoeists. However, not all individual paths will need to be designed or managed for every type of user. The paths included will allow people to move more easily in, around and between communities as part of their daily lives. Increased recreational use will also be encouraged and the network includes many existing paths as well as some proposals for new ones.

Core paths will be easy to follow, well signposted, appropriately maintained and as far as possible free from barriers or obstructions. Paths can range from a simple trail through the grass to a more formal path with a tarmac surface. The CNPA can now progress with a wide range of work including the production of information from leaflets to map-boards, to help promote the network to as wide an audience as possible.

You can access this board paper in full here.