A National Long Distance Cycling and Walking Network is needed to enhance visitor and recreation experiences, as well as ensuring that Scotland’s population has better access to the outdoors for health and well-being. Making better links between existing routes will improve connections between urban and rural, and inland and coastal areas. Whilst it has significant potential as a tourism resource, we also believe that this network can support active travel and contribute to health and well-being. The development should focus on making best use of existing path networks – Scotland’s Great Trails, the National Cycling Network and the Scottish Canal Network. It should seek to close key gaps, upgrade connecting routes, build on local core path networks, and link with public transport. Other proposals to strengthen this network over this period do not need planning permission to be implemented but form part of a wider strategy to help achieve the vision for the national network over a 20 year period. A coherent plan for the network will be developed by key partners, led by Scottish Natural Heritage, immediately after adoption of NPF3. The national development description shows the priority 5 year projects within the context of the wider strategy.
Implementation Lead(s): Scottish Natural Heritage; sustrans; Scottish Canals; Scottish Government; Local Authorities;
Locations: All Scotland
Further reading: National Walking and Cycling Network Project Plan
Environmental Mitigation: Effects of proposals to be assessed in full in ongoing Environmental Impact Assessment. Continuing community liaison. Co-ordinated approach to consenting may be beneficial. Habitats Regulations Appraisal will be required for some of the specific projects and the mitigation included in the Habitats Regulation Appraisal Record should be used to inform planning processes and be applied as appropriate.
Ongoing Activity and Milestones:
19 March 2015 – National Walking and Cycling Project Plan launched in Falkirk by the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners Rights, Alex Neil MSP
‘The preparation of a Communications Plan is underway to ensure that all partners and stakeholders are aware of or effectively engaged in delivery, and that users are inspired to explore the developing network
Project Steering Group
Project Steering Group inaugural meeting. The inaugural meeting of the National Walking and Cycling Network Steering Group took place on February 17, 2015. The organisations represented in the group are: SNH, sustrans, Scottish Canals, Scottish Government, CoSLA, VisitScotland and Regional Transport Partnerships. Broad areas of discussion covered: Project Plan, communications and promotions, routes and funding update, and monitoring of network use and condition. The fifth meeting of the Steering Group took place in June 2016. The next meeting is on 14 September 2017.
Strategic Development Plans Work is underway with local authorities and other partners to identify strategic routes, including NWCN priorities. Agreed routes are now included within the SESplan Main Issues Report and the Clydeplan Proposals Report, and have also been agreed with Forth valley and Ayrshire local authoritiesA CSGN wide strategic routes network map has now been prepared.
Network Monitoring Framework
SNH, Sustrans and Scottish Canals have devised an approach to monitoring the NWCN across Scotland, including establishing baseline data by 2017 followed up ongoing monitoring. The approach will involve route user interceptor surveys and the use of people counters. Data will be collected on the numbers of users and profiles, types and purpose of trips (recreation and active travel), users experiences, and economic impacts and health benefits. The user surveys are now complete and are being analysed. In addition, online public and business survey are underway until end March 2017 to help us understand how the National Walking and Cycling Network is being used, how it could be improved and what benefits it provides.. The surveys can be accessed on the link below.
In addition, online public and business survey are underway until end March 2017 to help us understand how the National Walking and Cycling Network is being used, how it could be improved and what benefits it provides.
We have now produced a NWCN tube map and a short animation below to illustrate, in schematic format, the vision to improve strategic paths provision in Scotland and create a better connected network.- see link below
We have also develop a short 6 minute film which describes how the network is being developed and who is involved, and highlights the benefits we are seeking.
Good news stories
Firth of Clyde Rotary Trail The creation of the Firth of Clyde Rotary Trail, from Mull of Galloway to Milngavie, by the Rotary was celebrated at a recent public launch in the town by Sally Magnusson. The opening of the Clyde Coast Path (an NWCN priority) has allowed the creation of the Firth of Clyde Rotary Trail by filling the missing gap between North Ayrshire and Milngavie. This crucial new section allows people to take much longer journeys now eg. Mull of Galloway to Glasgow, Inverness, Dundee, Edinburgh and Berwick
Good news stories
Firth of Clyde Rotary Trail
The creation of the Firth of Clyde Rotary Trail, from Mull of Galloway to Milngavie, by the Rotary was celebrated at a recent public launch in the town by Sally Magnusson. The opening of the Clyde Coast Path (an NWCN priority) has allowed the creation of the Firth of Clyde Rotary Trail by filling the missing gap between North Ayrshire and Milngavie. This crucial new section allows people to take much longer journeys now eg. Mull of Galloway to Glasgow, Inverness, Dundee, Edinburgh and Berwick
Great Trossachs Path
This recently-opened route is also a great example of improving connections between paths by linking together the West Highland Way and Three Lochs Way with the Rob Roy Way
Caledonian Canal Towpath Improvements
Benign winter and spring weather has allowed contractors to successfully improve the towpath sections of the canal linking Inverness with Fort William. The paths have been cleared of vegetation and resurfaced, giving better sight lines and multi-use access to a wider range of people
The picture shows aggregate stone being flown in by helicopter over the summer.
2016 March, 23 – There has been good progress made on various routes over the past few months with the highlight being the opening of a new section of the John Muir Way over the Kilpatrick Hills on March 21, 2016. This £500K project, led by Forestry Commission Scotland with additional funding from Scottish Natural Heritage and Sportscotland opens up a new upland route linking Carbeth to the Balloch area.
The photograph shows the project partners and community representatives cutting the ribbon to officially open the path.
Cross-Scotland Pilgrims Way:
St Fillan’s Community Trust hosted a launch of a new completed local section of the Pilgrims Way on 12 August. The work has been led by the Community Trust, with significant capital funding from SNH and Sustrans. This is a good example of key partners working together to implement projects which provide both local and national benefits.
Other progress on this route includes:
- Newburgh to Crieff, feasibility work is underway, led by the Scottish Pilgrims Route Forum
- Muthill to Crieff, implementation underway, led by Muthill Community Trust
- Crieff to Comrie, ongoing negotiations with landowners to agree route and related works, led by Crieff Community Trust and Perth & Kinross Council
- Tyndrum to Crianlairich, preparations for implementation led by Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Countryside Trust
Other route updates:
Crook of Devon to Kinross: Phase 1 implementation complete, led by Loch leven TRACKS
Southwest Coastal Path: Early works to improve Rhins paths completed, lead by Dumfries and Galloway Council. Ongoing work to develop full funding package for remaining route improvements
Arran Coastal Way: Ongoing improvements, led by Arran Access Trust
Cowal Way: Improvements complete, led by Colintraive and Glendaruel Development Trust
Hebridean Way: Improvements complete, led by Western Isles Council
Speyside Way extension: Ongoing, led by Cairngorms National Park
NCN Route 74: construction is underway in south Lanarkshire
NCN Route 753: ongoing work to the Fairlie coastal route
John Muir way Glasgow spur – feasibility work underway
Fife Pilgrim Way – HLF supported phase 1 development work underway, led by Fife Coast and Countryside Trust
Canal towpath network – £3.8M of investment in towpath surfacing/upgrade including:
- 11km on the Union Canal
- 15Km on the Forth & Clyde Canal
- 4.75Km on the Crinan Canal
- 7Km on the Caledonian Canal
Local authorities to facilitate the bringing forward of the network, including those elements requiring planning permission (list A) and those that do not (List B). Only planning applications for list A will be processed as national developments
Clyde Walkway extension – New Lanark to Biggar
Crook of Devon to Kinross
Cross-Scotland Pilgrim Way – Tyndrum to Glen Ogle / Glen Ogle to Crieff
Darvel to Muirkirk
John Muir Way – Strathblane to Glasgow spur
North Solway Coast Path – Drummore to Portpatrick
Speyside Way extension – Aviemore to Newtonmore
Route 73 of the National Cycle Network – Brodick to Corrie
Route 753 of the National Cycle Network – Gourock-Ardrossan: Largs to Inverkip / In & around Fairlie
Route 76 of the National Cycle Network – Manor Powis Roundabout
Route 765 of the National Cycle Network – Stirling to Callander: Doune-Burn of Cambus
Southern Upland Cycleway: Stranraer to Portpatrick
Arran Coastal Way improvements
Clyde Coastal Path improvements
Clyde Walkway improvements – Newton Farm section / Craighead Retreat section
Cowal Way improvements
Dundee Green Circular – alternative to Docks section
Great Trossachs Path – Callander to Inversnaid
Fife Pilgrim Way – Culross and North Queensferry to St Andrews
Hebridean Way – Harris & Lewis
John Muir Way – Kilpatricks section
Route 73 (South) of the National Cycle Network – Newton Stewart to Cairnryan
Caledonian Canal Towpath
Crinan Canal Towpath
Forth & Clyde Canal Towpath
Monklands Canal TowpathUnion Canal Towpath