Volunteers log record-breaking figures in Argyll woodland thanks to our funding

A community grant has helped volunteers log record-breaking visitor numbers three times greater than predicted for the winter months at a Scottish woodland by Loch Goil in Argyll.

The stunning view from a contemplation shelter

Two people counters have been installed at Cormonachan Community Woodlands (CCW) in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and have recorded 2,795 visitors. 

The installation of the technology has been funded by one of our grants and has helped the volunteer group record the footfall at the site strengthening their funding application for a 2km path extension.   

The extension would allow visitors to reach the Cormonachan Waterfalls, a stunning landmark within the woodlands which is currently too dangerous for the public to reach. 

Aberdeen-born retiree, Douglas Locke (80), has been volunteering for CCW since 1998 and was appointed Secretary in 2014. 

He said: “The people counter posts have been a great addition to the woodlands and have helped us accurately monitor how many people visit daily – and the increased footfall has been a lovely surprise!

“Many people have looked to the outdoors to keep busy during the last year, and I hope it has highlighted just how much Scotland has to offer and how important it is to have access to nice outdoor spaces. 

“By logging our visiting levels, we hope to further expand the project turning the Woodlands into a real tourist attraction to support the local economy.”

Before lockdown, the CCW team hosted a range of events to support the Argyll community, including live theatre performances, outdoor art galleries and memorials. 

With the warmer days on the way, the voluntary team are eager to showcase Cormonachan Woodlands as a hidden gem to the wider public. 

Douglas added: “We preserve 63.9 hectors of ancient woodlands which consists mainly of oaks, hazel and other native plants. With membership funding we were able to set up a red squirrel hide, and a contemplation shelter with an absolutely magnificent view over Loch Goil - people love it.

“Our projects are funded by donations, membership schemes, the local community and grants like the one from Paths for All.

“We see a wide range of people accessing the woodland which makes our work even more important to ensure the area is safe and accessible.”

We've awarded over £65,400 worth of grants to 33 groups across Scotland, from the Isle of Lewis to the Scottish Borders, to transform neglected parts of their local path networks.

As part of the Know Your Routes campaign, money will be used for wide-ranging work including structural improvements, installing signage, hiring tools or contractors, promoting hidden routes and improving biodiversity along path networks. 

Rona Gibb, our Senior Manager said:

With walking being one of few reasons for leaving our homes over the past year, it has shown how important it is to have access to nice outdoor spaces and routes.
The work ongoing in communities across the country has far more than local value – it has a big impact on improving the physical, mental and social health of society.
Having safe and accessible local greenspace is so central when it comes to keeping us active and connecting with nature and our community.
The work of volunteers improving their local path network is invaluable, and is fundamental to encouraging more people to walk every day and everywhere.

Our Community Path grants are supported by Scottish Government and the Community Active Travel Grants are supported by Transport Scotland.