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Cairngorms National Park

 

Heritage Horizons – Cairngorms 2030

Introducing Heritage Horizons: Cairngorms 2030

Join local resident Cailean Mckerron as he explains how Heritage Horizons: Cairngorms 2030 will transform the Cairngorms National Park. The project is empowering the people who live, visit and work in the National Park to take action and tackle the climate and nature crises together.

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A transformational vision for the Cairngorms

It is easy to feel powerless in the face of a global climate emergency and nature crisis. But we believe it doesn’t have to be this way. Inspired by the Gaelic word Dùthchas – meaning the deep-rooted connection between people and nature – Heritage Horizons: Cairngorms 2030 is putting the power to tackle the climate and nature crises in the hands of people who live, visit and work in the UK’s largest national park.

“Dùthchas” – meaning the deep-rooted connection between people and nature

Across 24 long-term projects, Heritage Horizons will bring about transformational change in the Cairngorms, benefitting people’s health and wellbeing, delivering on climate change and enhancing nature across the National Park. The programme is on a larger scale than anything previously attempted in the UK and aims to inspire rural and urban communities throughout Scotland and beyond to take action and make a difference.

In particular, Heritage Horizons will focus on:


Projects for empowering communities


Putting local people at the heart of decision-making and giving them more say in future funding decisions.

Projects for improving travel connectivity


Working with communities and partners to improve sustainable transport and better Active Travel connections across the National Park.

Projects for restoring landscapes


Working with land managers to explore new ways of managing land, as well as restoring and enhancing large areas of peatland and woodland.

Projects for improving people's health and wellbeing


Developing an economy that benefits people and nature and providing green solutions to public health issues including Covid recovery, social isolation and dementia.

 

Heritage Fund logoHeritage Horizons is an unprecedented partnership of over 45 organisations and is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with thanks to players of the National Lottery.

Empowering communities in the Park

We’ll put local people at the heart of decision-making and give them more say in future funding decisions by:

  • Creating forums to develop projects from the ground up
  • Giving local communities power to decide which projects to fund
  • Inspiring young people to take action via a dedicated learning programme
  • Connecting people with traditional Highland culture via a new community arts programme

 

This project will increase awareness and deepen understanding of the climate emergency and its relevance to residents, communities, landowners and businesses in the National Park through a series of dedicated workshops. The workshops, led by Keep Scotland Beautiful, are aimed at anyone with a desire to increase their understanding and make more informed decisions to reduce their impact on the environment.

  • Project lead: Tania Alliod, Learning and Engagement Officer
  • Project partners: Keep Scotland Beautiful
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022, delivery stage from March 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email project lead Tania Alliod

This project will put the voices of young people at the heart of decision making in the National Park and will empower and inspire our young people and educators to take forward pro-environmental behaviours and activity. We will adopt UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development mission and make it relevant to the Cairngorms National Park and its people.

  • Project lead: Tania Alliod, Learning and Engagement Officer
  • Project partners: Education Scotland, secondary schools, Skills Development Scotland, practitioners operating in the National Park, Cairngorms Youth Action Team
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022, delivery stage from March 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email project lead Tania Alliod
  • Tender documents: Cairngorms climate learning framework

This project brings together the National Park’s creative sector to identify and develop activities that create a greater connection to our landscapes and foster a sense of place. They will encourage people to get involved in community-based activity and take action to reduce climate change impacts in the National Park. This is an opportunity for the National Park’s creative community to articulate a vision for arts and culture in the Cairngorms, and to highlight the key role arts and culture will play in achieving transformational change. This work builds on the Creative Cairngorms project initiated by GrowBiz in 2021, which helped establish a collaborative network for the creative sector in the National Park.

  • Project lead: Tania Alliod, Learning and Engagement Officer
  • Project partners: GrowBiz, Bothy Project, XPO North, Creative Scotland
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022
  • Find out more and get involved: email project lead Tania Alliod

Since the National Park’s inception in 2003, the most successful community projects have been those in which local people have been empowered to make decisions and given a degree of financial control over which projects are taken forward. The community-managed grant scheme will help us to achieve our net zero and wellbeing economy targets by giving communities the power to define, design, fund and deliver projects that matter most to them.

  • Project lead: Bridget Trussell, LEADER Manager
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022, delivery stage from March 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email project lead Bridget Trussell

This project will shape the way we engage with people in the National Park, ensuring individuals and communities feel empowered, want to contribute and have the resources to effect change at both a National Park-wide and community level. The project will identify the most effective engagement models and look at what works and what doesn’t when it comes to community engagement in the National Park. Working with stakeholders and communities, the project will also identify future topics for communities to consider to help us achieve our collective net zero and wellbeing economy targets.

  • Project lead: Tania Alliod, Learning and Engagement Officer
  • Project partners: community councils, community development trusts, third sector organisations, residents, and businesses
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022, delivery stage from March 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email project lead Tania Alliod
  • Tender documents: Effective community engagement

Changing the way people travel and get around

We’ll work with communities and partners to improve active and sustainable transport provision in the Park by:

  • Developing high-quality walking, cycling and wheelchair-accessible connections both in and between communities as part of a new active travel plan for the Park
  • Creating a dedicated e-bike network for residents and visitors to use
  • Investigating and testing sustainable transport options including developing a sustainable transport vision for the route between Aviemore and Cairngorm Mountain

 

This project aims to make it easy and safe for residents and visitors to get around Aviemore without a vehicle. By improving active travel infrastructure and public spaces, we want to make it more enjoyable for everyone to walk, cycle or get around using a wheelchair. Listening to local views and ideas will be central to developing the proposals.

  • Project lead: Anna Ronayne, Sustainable Transport Officer
  • Project partners: Local community stakeholders, Sustrans, HITRANS, The Highland Council, Transport Scotland
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022/23, detailed design stages in 2023/24, construction from 2025 onwards
  • Find out more and get involved: [email protected]
  • Tender documents: Active Aviemore

The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) will work with local communities to make it easy and safe for residents and visitors to get around in villages in Badenoch and Strathspey without a vehicle. By improving active travel infrastructure and public spaces, we want to make it more enjoyable for everyone to walk, cycle or get around using a wheelchair. Listening to local views and ideas will be central to developing the proposals. Initially the focus of this project is on five villages, whilst supporting other active travel initiatives currently ongoings in the area. Along with many other projects this work will place active travel at the heart of a greener and healthier future.

  • Project lead: Sjoerd Tel, Sustainable Transport Officer
  • Project partners: Local community stakeholders, Sustrans, HITRANS, The Highland Council
  • Project timeline: Project development in 2022/23, detailed design stages in 2023/24, construction from 2025 onwards
  • Find out more and get involved: [email protected]

This project aims to make it easy and safe for residents and visitors to get around Ballater and Braemar without a vehicle. By improving active travel infrastructure and public spaces, we want to make it more enjoyable for everyone to walk, cycle or get around using a wheelchair. Listening to local views and ideas will be central to developing the proposals.

  • Project lead: Anna Ronayne, Sustainable Transport Officer
  • Project partners: Local community stakeholders, Sustrans, Nestrans, Aberdeenshire Council
  • Project timeline: Project development in 2022/23, detailed design stages in 2023/24, construction from 2025 onwards
  • Find out more and get involved: [email protected]

CNPA will work with local communities to make it easy and safe for residents and visitors to get around Blair Atholl and Killiecrankie without a vehicle. By improving active travel infrastructure and public spaces, we want to make it more enjoyable for everyone to walk, cycle or get around using a wheelchair. We will also investigate what needs done to enable safer active travel between the two villages. This project, along with other many others around the Cairngorms National Park will place active travel at the heart of a greener and healthier future.

  • Project lead: Sjoerd Tel, Sustainable Transport Officer
  • Project partners: Sustrans, Perth and Kinross Council, Tactran
  • Project development in 2022/23, detailed design stages in 2023/24, construction from 2025 onwards
  • Find out more and get involved: [email protected]

This project will bring together learnings from active travel projects in Badenoch and Strathspey, Deeside and Angus, Highland Perthshire and Aviemore and work in partnership with the five Local Authorities and three Regional Transport Partnerships which cover the Park, Sustrans and Transport Scotland. It will explore what a Park-wide active travel network should look like by 2045, auditing what currently exists in and between our communities (including connections to public transport), what improvements are planned and where the gaps are, and proposing a range of solutions to develop the network and help achieve our net zero targets.

  • Project lead: Helen Wilson, Sustrans/CNPA Senior Project Officer (Active Travel),
  • Project partners: Local community stakeholders, Sustrans, The Highland Council, Moray Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Perth and Kinross Council, Angus Council, HITRANS, Nestrans, Tactran, Transport Scotland
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022/2023, detailed design development and construction works in 2024-28 and then longer term to 2045.
  • Find out more and get involved: [email protected]
  • Tender documents: Cairngorms active travel network plan

This project is about developing an accessible rural e-bike network for use by residents and visitors of the Park.  The aim of the project is to reduce private car use and create a modal shift to active travel and reduce CO2 emissions in the National Park.  It will engage, empower, and inspire residents and visitors to use a more sustainable, healthier transport option. The project will create a hire network of e-bikes for functional journey use (not for recreational cycling).  E-bikes will be available for visitors to use to travel to visitor attractions and for residents to trial using an e-bike in place of a second car.

  • Project lead: Vicky Hilton, Outdoor Access Officer
  • Project partners: Community organisations, cycle businesses, Cairngorms Trust, Regional Transport Partnerships
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022/23, delivery stage from July 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email [email protected]
  • Tender documents: Cairngorms e-bike network strategy

With transport accounting for over a third of Scotland’s carbon emissions, how residents and visitors travel to and around the National Park will need to change for us to achieve our net zero targets. The Glenmore and Cairngorm Mountain area is the busiest visitor destination in the Cairngorms, and the cumulative impact of over one million visits per year is significant, particularly on such an environmentally sensitive area. At present, almost all visitors arrive by private car. This project will seek to design a new sustainable model of transport to reduce visitors’ and residents’ reliance on private vehicles, in turn reducing carbon emissions from transport in the National Park.

  • Project lead: Sjoerd Tel, Sustainable Transport Officer
  • Project partners: Local community stakeholders, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, HITRANS, Cairngorm Mountain, Cairngorms Business Partnership, Forestry and Land Scotland
  • Project timeline: Project development in 2022/23, delivery stage from July 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email [email protected]

With transport accounting for over a third of Scotland’s carbon emissions, how we all travel needs to change to achieve Scotland’s net zero targets. High quality sustainable transport has the potential to make the Cairngorms National Park a fairer, healthier and more economically vibrant place to live, work and visit. Working with partners, CNPA is aiming to improve the sustainable transport options in the Park to make it easy to get around without a private vehicle. At first, we will focus on Deeside, the Angus Glens and Highland Perthshire, alongside the Glenmore Sustainable Transport Plan.

  • Project lead: Liz Henderson, Anna Ronayne and Sjoerd Tel
  • Project partners: Local community stakeholders, Aberdeenshire Council, Angus Council, Perth and Kinross Council, Nestrans, Tactran, Transport Scotland and Public Transport providers
  • Project development in 2022/23, delivery stage from July 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: [email protected]

Restoring and enhancing landscapes

We’ll work with land managers to explore new ways of managing land and restore large areas of the Park by:

  • Expanding woodland cover by 1,000 hectares 
  • Restoring 3,500 hectares of the Park’s peatland
  • Exploring net zero farming with a group of six trial farms
  • Reducing flooding risk in the most at-risk communities
  • Securing additional green private finance for the benefit of nature and communities

 

Our river catchments run through the heart of communities within the Cairngorms National Park, providing fertile floodplain farmland, supporting industry and employment, tourism and recreational activity. They provide a source of water for the towns and villages along the river valleys, and support internationally important populations of Atlantic salmon and freshwater pearl mussel. However, contrary to the popular image of free-flowing waters tumbling from their source high in the Cairngorm mountains, the three largest catchments – the River Dee, River Spey and the Angus Glens – have had a long history of human engineering, their waters routinely abstracted for agriculture, industry and domestic supply. Couple all that to the impacts of climate change of increased flood events, increasing temperatures and drought and you have rivers under serious pressure. This project aims to increase climate change resilience to reduce flood risk and ensure that rivers continue to deliver for the people and wildlife that depend upon them.

This project will help farmers in the Cairngorms National Park achieve lower carbon emissions and greater biodiversity on their farms without impacting their financial ‘bottom line’. The project builds on work being undertaken around Scotland on reducing carbon emissions in farming but applies them to the specific circumstances of the Cairngorms. This is important to ensure that farms here can achieve carbon neutrality, improve their profitability and climate change resilience, while protecting and restoring the natural environment.

  • Project lead: Fiona Holmes, RLUP and Agriculture Officer
  • Project partners: six farms, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Quality Meat Scotland
  • Project timeline: Development phase from January 2022 to February 2023, delivery phase March 2023 to March 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email project lead Fiona Holmes

Red deer are an iconic species within the National Park, numbers have increased dramatically over the last century and too much grazing and trampling by deer can have negative impacts on important habitats and associated species. To enable peatland and woodland work to proceed at the scale necessary to meet our targets in combating climate change and biodiversity loss, deer numbers will have to decrease in the National Park, with particular focus given to areas with high deer occupancy. This project will engage a broad range of people involved in decision-making around deer management – from stalkers to accommodation providers, local communities as well as landowners and their agents – to develop strategic land management plans to gain greater buy-in, reduce deer numbers and mitigate their impacts on the environment.

The Cairngorms National Park has significant potential for peatland restoration, woodland expansion, flood management, low carbon farming, biodiversity offsetting and many other potential nature-based solutions. Working with the Palladium Group, National Parks Partnership, public bodies and local land managers, this project will look to pilot an approach that blends sources of public and private finance to deliver our net zero and biodiversity targets, whilst also providing long-term benefits (and income) for land managers, investors and local communities.

  • Project lead: Mike Cottam, Land Management Advisor
  • Project partners: Palladium, National Parks Partnership, public bodies, and land managers
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022, delivery stage from March 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email project lead Mike Cottam

We know the landscape of the Cairngorms will change over time, particularly due to the climate emergency and our collective effort to achieve net zero by 2045. There are, however, many different options for landscape change to achieve net zero, and we need to ensure that communities are engaged with the selection of those options which protect and enhance the special landscape qualities which they most value. This project will explore how communities perceive, experience and value the landscape of the National Park, identify special landscape qualities and their relative importance, and establish community preferences for different options for landscape change.

Our deep peatlands – the great carbon stores of the National Park – currently release thousands of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere and our water courses each year as around 90% are in poor condition. This project will seek to repair around 3,500 ha of these damaged areas and deliver significant ecological benefits through restoration. That’s over 2½ football pitches of restored peatland per day over a five-year period.

  • Project lead: Stephen Corcoran, Peatland Action Programme Manager
  • Project partners: NatureScot, land managers, independent contractors
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022, delivery stage from March 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email project lead Daisy Whytock

Scotland has committed to the development of Regional Land Use Partnerships (sometimes called RLUPs) to deliver a more integrated approach to land use change and management, and to help us reach net zero by 2045. This project will help all those who have a stake in land management and land use understand their rights and responsibilities and learn how they can get involved in the work of Regional Land Use Partnerships. This includes more information on Scottish Government’s Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement and what it means for land managers.

  • Project lead: Fiona Holmes, RLUP and Agriculture Officer
  • Project Partners: Scottish Land Commission
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022, delivery stage from March 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email project lead Fiona Holmes

Woodland expansion is recognised as one of the best methods of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. The woodland expansion programme will be a major carbon sink in the Cairngorms landscape, helping absorb and store large amounts of CO2 and contributing to our net zero targets. Through this project we will add 1,000 ha of new or expanded woodland, or around five football pitches of new woodland per week over a five-year period.

  • Project lead: David Hetherington, Woodland Advisor
  • Project partners: Land managers, Scottish Forestry, NatureScot and forestry consultees
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022, delivery stage from March 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email project lead David Hetherington

Fostering healthier, happier communities

We’ll develop an economy that benefits people and nature, and provide green solutions to public health issues by:

  • Working with local businesses to create an economic model based on wellbeing not GDP
  • Developing an NHS green health referral programme
  • Creating a unique outdoor Dementia Activity Resource Centre
  • Encouraging people to walk and cycle more in the Park

 

This project will develop the country’s first outdoor resource centre specifically designed to support people living with dementia, their families and carers, enabling enjoyment and exploration of the outdoor environment. Based at Badaguish Outdoor Centre, the project will offer a programme of outdoor-based therapeutic activities. A dedicated team will run the therapeutic programme, centred in and inspired by the natural environment.

  • Project Lead: Gillian Councill, Associate Executive Lead for Localities, Alzheimer Scotland
  • Project partners: Alzheimer Scotland
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022, delivery stage from March 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email project lead Gillian Councill

The long-term health and wellbeing benefits of connecting with nature are well documented, and this project will support people to make lasting connections to nature and the outdoors. This covers a wide spectrum of activities, from viewing nature through your window and bringing the outdoors in, to stepping out into nature and taking part in facilitated activities. Our natural environment really does offer something for everyone, and everyone should have the support and opportunity to benefit in ways that serve them most. Fundamentally, the project aims to put people at the centre of tackling the climate, health and ecological crises and ensure that nature engagement is at the heart of improved wellbeing.

  • Project leads: Dan Jenkins, Public Health Programme Manager and Louise Emslie, Green Health Ranger
  • Project partners: Badenoch and Strathspey Community Hospital, Rangers (Park Authority and High Life Highland), NatureScot, RSPB Scotland, Forestry and Land Scotland, schools, youth services, community sports hub, care at home services and social work
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022, delivery stage from March 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email project lead Dan Jenkins

A wellbeing economy is designed with the purpose of serving the wellbeing of people and planet first and foremost, as opposed to more traditional measures like GDP. In doing so, wellbeing economies deliver social justice on a healthy planet. Working with WEAll Scotland, this project will explore and design the foundations of what a wellbeing economy might look for communities, businesses and visitors in the National Park. It will provoke discussion and generate ideas and solutions that address long-term health, wealth and sustainability challenges, to help people and nature thrive together.

  • Project lead: Fiona McInally, Rural Development and Communities Manager
  • Project partners: Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland (WEAll Scotland)
  • Project timeline: Development stage will run during 2022, delivery stage from March 2023 to Mar 2028
  • Find out more and get involved: email project lead Fiona McInally