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Footpath Fund

Will you help us protect Scotland’s iconic landscapes?
Footpath Fund team pushing a stone

Footpath Fund

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Over the spring and summer, our Footpath team should have been out across Scotland, repairing and maintaining the footpaths the Trust looks after. This essential behind-the-scenes work is critical in protecting Scotland’s iconic landscapes and habitats.

The pandemic halted our activity and we’re now 5 months behind our schedule of crucial maintenance. As we come into the winter months, and after our paths have been busier than ever, we must complete as much as we can to ensure our landscapes and habitats aren’t at risk of ugly scars and irreparable damage.

Without clear pathways, walkers find different routes and their footprints start to erode the surrounding area. This damage destroys the delicate upland ecosystems, and leaves plants and vegetation vulnerable to the harsh Scottish weather and our habitats and wildlife exposed. We need to get back out to repair, build and maintain our network of paths across Scotland.

Bob Brown, Footpath manager

Transcript

Hi, I’m Bob Brown.

I’m the footpath manager for the National Trust for Scotland.

So me and my team look after the 100km of upland footpaths in the mountains under the Trust’s care.

That’s great to see everybody back out enjoying themselves in the hills. I’m here in Glencoe today. Unfortunately, the massive surge of people is causing us additional problems which we need to take care of.

People are socially distancing on the paths which of course is great and the right thing to do.

However, there are ways to do it without walking down the edges of the path, which is causing additional erosions we need to work on.

Finally out of lockdown, my team are back on the hill and we need your help. It’s easy to take footpaths for granted and many people just imagine they have always been there and always will be.

However, the maintenance that goes into them and the cost involved is high.

Our footpaths need urgent attention, please donate today.



Please will you help Scotland’s footpaths survive the impacts of COVID-19?

  • £10 could help buy spades, mattocks or other hand tools
  • £25 could help us stabilise the edge of a collapsing path
  • £48 could help us care for 1.2m of footpath, clear out vital ditching or restore a section of trampled ground


We’re delighted that people are able to enjoy Scotland’s beauty once again. Our famous peaks and landscapes are attracting more visitors than ever, but the impact is visible. We want to ensure that these landscapes remain unspoilt for everyone to enjoy again and our footpath maintenance is a vital part of this work. As a charity we rely on donations to achieve this and with the impact of the pandemic on the Trust being far-reaching and ongoing, we need your help more than ever.

The summit of a mountain showing a maintained path on the right, and a new path on the left.
Footpath erosion on Ben Lawers

Ben Lawers

We’re continuing to see huge numbers of visitors at Ben Lawers and are thrilled that more people than ever are able to enjoy Scotland’s outdoors. But we’re also starting to see rapid erosion taking place before our eyes. On the summit of Ben Lawers we’re now seeing a new, parallel braid path which is threatening the fragile vegetation of the Munro – vegetation that has been painstakingly restored over decades. Please donate today to help us protect Scotland’s alpine plants and wildlife.

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The challenges we face

1. Reassessing our paths

Our team is currently split up across Scotland, unable to live together as normal, which is creating logistical issues. They’re assessing lockdown damage and checking for rockfalls and landslips, to get a better idea of the bigger picture as well as attend to many of the varied maintenance challenges across the country. Where possible, they’ve completed solo maintenance work.

2. Lockdown damage

At Glencoe, safety rails were removed from beside a sharp incline by the River Coe and used by campers for firewood. They then left their entire campsite behind – including their tent! We also expect to find peripheral footpath damage across the country. A donation to our appeal will help us fix any other unexpected damage at a time when money is already tight.

3. Habitat destruction

During lockdown we saw some amazing vegetation regrowth at Ben Lomond, which was subsequently destroyed two weeks after lockdown by people social distancing either side of the path. By donating today, you’ll help us get out to these popular sites to repair and adapt the footpaths to protect Scotland’s wildlife.

Footpath Fund

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