The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has announced that construction work on the new Glencoe Greenway will begin this winter.
The Glencoe Greenway is a shared-use path that will allow locals and visitors to walk, cycle, or wheel into the heart of the glen from the west. Currently, people have to take a risky route on the narrow verge of the busy A82 trunk road.
The £1 million project has been initiated to create a 2km ‘all-ability’ pathway from the Glencoe Visitor Centre to the An Torr and Signal Rock car park. This pathway will connect with the existing paths leading into the glen.
Additionally, 2km of the existing pathway from the Visitor Centre towards Glencoe Village will be upgraded. The upgrade work will be carried out through the woodlands of the National Trust for Scotland and Forest & Land Scotland.
The project aims to make the glen more accessible to a wider range of users and reduce the dependence on cars. This is in line with the charity’s goal to provide attractive alternatives to driving into the glen.
The project was made possible by funding from the Scottish Government through Sustrans Scotland’s Network Development Fund, the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) established by the Scottish Government and managed by Visit Scotland, and funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. In 2022, initial survey work was funded by the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS).
The Greenway will be the missing piece in the circular traffic-free ‘Glencoe Orbital Recreation Trail’, which connects Glencoe Village, the National Trust for Scotland’s Glencoe Visitor Centre, and the old road to Glencoe Village via the Clachaig Inn. This has been a long-standing desire of the community, the Trust, and other local stakeholders. The Greenway will also offer a direct traffic-free link to the popular ‘Caledonia Way’ National Cycle Network Route 78, which runs from Oban to Fort William via Ballachulish Bridge.
This is the first step in a long-term effort to create a traffic-free path along the length of the glen and Transport Scotland has commissioned a feasibility study to explore this possibility.
Emily Bryce, the National Trust for Scotland’s Operations Manager at Glencoe, commented: “Glencoe’s natural beauty and cultural history attract visitors from across the globe and over 2 million vehicles a year drive this 10-mile stretch through the Glen. Such a volume of traffic inevitably places pressure on the landscape, as well as the locals who live here year-round.”
“In 2020, the National Trust for Scotland conducted a public survey, which was completed by over 3,000 respondents. We asked for views on how to reduce challenges with parking capacity in Glencoe National Nature Reserve, and there was resounding support (over nine out of 10 people) for the suggestion to ‘enable people to walk or bike into the heart of Glen with improved footpaths’. So, that’s exactly what we are aiming to do with the Glencoe Greenway.”
“For the first time, we’re making it possible for people to walk, cycle, push a buggy or take a wheelchair on a traffic-free path into Glencoe from the east. This will enable locals and visitors alike to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, nature, beauty and heritage of this part of the glen, knowing they are also helping to care for it by enjoying it more sustainably.”