Scottish charity’s grant leads to better signposting around the Isle of Lewis
A PATH ROUTE on the Isle of Lewis has been marked out by community volunteers to help disperse tourists across the island and open up new walking routes.
The Uig Development Trust has created a local walking map outlining nine new routes to encourage visitors to explore more of the island.
Scotland’s national walking charity, Paths for All, has awarded a grant to help further develop the project, and has funded signposting of the three mile route starting at Carrishader and ending at Loch Suaineabhat
Isle of Lewis resident, Sophie Brown (42) is the Development Officer for the group and is also a trained Health Walk Leader with Paths for All and co-ordinates walks in Uig with members of the community.
Sophie Brown said: “We wanted to encourage people out into the moors and enjoy different parts of nature safely, and in a responsible way.
“The posts funded by Paths for All have helped mark one of our new routes which ends with glorious views of Loch Suaineabhat and Uig Sands. We wanted the path to take people across an interesting section of the moorland to try and take the pressure off the more frequently visited sites.
“It was a great project. We had 12 volunteers helping and they ranged from 30 all the way up to 70. It was a good mix of people which was really special.
“Everyone played an important part in the project, from mapping out the route to digging holes for the sign posts to going around and manually putting in waymarkers.
“It was a great effort from the community and we even managed to catch a lift from one of the Estate managers when we were going around putting the signposts into place.
“This was our first time applying to the Paths for All grants and it was a really positive experience. We’re delighted they selected our project to work with and was a great pilot run to see what is possible.”
Paths for All awarded £65,459 worth of grants to 33 groups across Scotland, from the Isle of Lewis to the Scottish Borders, who have transformed neglected parts of their local path networks.
Community Path funding will be used for wide-ranging work including structural improvements, installing signage, hiring tools or contractors, promoting hidden routes and improving biodiversity along path networks.
This year’s grants have been funded by Nature Scot, Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government. The Community Path grant is now open for applications for up to £1500 to support upgrade, promotion, and maintenance of local paths.
Rona Gibb, Senior Manager at Paths for All, said: “With walking being one of few reasons for leaving our homes over the past year, it has shown how important it is to have access to nice outdoor spaces and routes.
“The work ongoing in communities across the country has far more than local value – it has a big impact on improving the physical, mental and social health of society.
“Having safe and accessible local greenspace is so central when it comes to keeping us active and connecting with nature and our community.
“The work of volunteers improving their local path network is invaluable, and is fundamental to encouraging more people to walk every day and everywhere.”
Paths for All works with Scottish Government and 30 partners to support and deliver national policies, such as the National Walking Strategy and other ‘active travel’ initiatives.
The Scottish charity awards thousands of pounds worth of grants to worthwhile projects that improve health, promote walking and improve environments for people to be active in.
Paths for All’s focus is clear: it wants to get Scotland walking: everyone, every day, everywhere.
For more information on Paths for All, visit: https://www.pathsforall.org.uk
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