Green Cleugh path
The core footpath that runs through Green Cleugh is a popular trail that skirts the base of Black Hill and Hare hill. It leads from Bavelaw Estate through the wide glacial valley and recently planted native broadleaf woodland plantation, gradually narrowing into a steep sided glen with a waterfall.
PLMA Path Repairs
At the start of 2021 heavy rainfall combined with high footfall caused the path to degrade. Walkers and other users were struggling to pass the boggy quagmire. As walkers tried to avoid the mud, the area of damage was expanding quickly, resulting in trampling of newly planted trees. In addition, some walkers had started to climb the fencing to avoid the mud which caused damage to fencing.
This deer fencing is critical to keep sheep and deer out of the new native woodland plantation as the trees get established. If a deer got into the area they would destroy all the young trees within days. Acting quickly to avoid more damage, the PLMA undertook the path repair, establishing new ditching and drainage and resurfacing the path with small stone. The cost of materials and labour was around £1,000 which the farmer undertook at his own expense to prevent further damage and repairs to the new woodland. This is an example of how heavy footfall from visitors and subsequent damage to paths can have wider consequences for biodiversity, habitat creation, and farmer livelihoods.
A sustainable future
The Green Cleugh path is part of a network of around 100km of core paths through the hills, which City of Edinburgh council, as managers of the Pentland Hills Regional Park (PHRP), established and pledged to maintain when the Regional Park was created in the 1980s. Unfortunately funding for the Park is only a fraction of what it was when it was established and visitor numbers have increased rapidly. The funding available is not enough to keep abreast of repairs and the network of core paths continues to degrade.
The PLMA is now asking competitors in organised events in the Pentlands to donate a modest amount per head to the PLMA to help us to repair and maintain paths that are affected by high footfall such as the example above.
As farmers and land managers we are in a position to be able to act quickly as we often have the right tools and materials to hand and we are not bound by the protracted procurement rules in the public sector. The PLMA pledge that funds from events shall be ring-fenced for work conducted towards either biodiversity or infrastructure projects within the PLMA members’ land area as and where the need arises. Our membership comprises landowners and land managers who represent over 80% of the Pentland Hills Regional Park. As such, we are uniquely positioned to promise and deliver this.