It seems like a long time since Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park granted planning permission for RSPB Scotland’s ‘Path to the Loch’ project back in May 2020. This, like many other projects, has faced significant delays due to the impacts of COVID-19. However, we are delighted to share with you that the construction phase of the Wildlife Trail to Loch Lomond project at RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond will commence in January 2022.

It’s very exciting to be able to be finally ‘breaking ground’ and delivering a project that has now been over four years in the making, and on completion will mean that the incredible nature here is accessible to more people. The project centres around the creation of a new 1.3km trail, which will link the Shore Wood path to the existing path network and visitor hub for the first time, along with a new and exciting programme of events and activities for visitors. You can find out more about it in our blog from last summer.

The process we have been through with the Planning Authority has been lengthy but thorough, and we are confident that we are able to deliver this project with minimum impacts on what makes the place so special.

The company who will be delivering the works is McLaren Plant Ltd and we are working alongside Contract Managers at Ironside Farrar. Members of both companies previously worked at RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond to deliver the now well-established Airey Woodland trail and Viewpoint Trail, and the site access road and car park, respectively.

With any project comes a lot of paperwork be it risk assessments, construction methodology, programme of works or species protection plans. In particular, we have collaboratively produced two documents: a Construction Method Statement and a Core Path & Access Management Plan. The methods outlined in these documents have taken on-board feedback received from our neighbours and we have worked hard to ensure we can reduce the impact of the works as much as possible. Although there will be disruption, as with any construction project, we want to ensure the impacts are minimised.

These documents are available to read in full upon request, but we have summarised the main points of interest, to let you know what will be happening during the works, and to give you an idea of what to expect if visiting in this time.

Summary of construction phase

  • The ‘Aber Path’ which leads down to the Shore Wood path will remain open throughout the works. We will collect information about the condition of this route to ensure any repairs can be carried out if required. There may be some minor disruption when the new path is joined to the existing Shore Wood path.
  • Most of the work will take place on weekdays between 0800 and 1630, and no later than 1800 (although at this time of year, daylight is the main restricting factor anyway).
  • The RSPB Scotland team will be carrying out daily walks to check for the presence of protected Greenland white-fronted geese that could be impacted by the works, and work will not take place if they are found to be using ground adjacent to the worksite.
  • Most vehicle movements along the access routes will be to shuttle construction staff to their daily work location, or for the delivery of materials and equipment, and will be done using standard agricultural machinery and motor vehicles. The size and weight of vehicles accessing the road will be restricted to further reduce the impact of the work.
  • A series of Toolbox Talks have been prepared for the contractors working on the ground, which includes information regarding public safety along the core path and wider nature reserve. We will also have additional safety signage to inform the public of the presence of construction vehicles.
  • Onsite a construction area boundary will be marked off, as will key areas that require protection from disturbance and/or damage, including both archaeological and wildlife features. Other areas may be cordoned off for safety reasons whilst the works are ongoing, so please try to avoid these areas if you are visiting RSPB Scotland Loch Lomond.

How long will construction take?

We are hopeful that the construction phase will be completed within 8-10 weeks. However, as is the current climate, there are issues outside of our control in wider society that may impact the schedule such as reduced availability of materials, drivers and fuel. We will do all we can to limit the length of the disruption and will be providing regular blog and social media updates to keep everyone informed on progress.

Where should I go if I have any questions?

You can contact the RSPB site team on 01389830670 or email loch.lomond@rspb.org.uk if you would like to ask any questions or find out more. You can also follow us on Twitter @RSPBLochLomond.

The Wildlife Trail to Loch Lomond project has been made possible through funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund, Brown Forbes Memorial Fund and the Horace and Helen Gillman

Trusts.

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