Path Development & Skills Training (Broadford, Isle of Skye)

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As part of its ‘One Stop Shop’ service, Paths for All (PFA) was approached by Broadford and Strath Community Company (BSCC) to design and deliver a two day training event for BSCC, the local community, and other community groups on the Isle of Skye. As part of Community Woodlands Association Knowledge and Skills Development Scheme, the event was held on a sunny October weekend with a total of 14 people in attendance. This case study summarises the training event and provides feedback on its success.

What were the objectives of the training event?

On completion of the two days of training, participants:

  • Acquired a basic understanding of path planning, design, construction and maintenance good practice

  • Learnt practical skills in path surveying and maintenance

Why did Broadford and Strath Community Company want to do this training event?

The purpose of the training was to develop and build knowledge and skills in path development for BSCC own volunteers, the local community and members of neighbouring community groups. These skills and knowledge were required as the paths managed by BSCC had increased due to the recent purchase of Broadford Community Woodland from Forestry Commission Scotland. New paths were proposed as part of the planned community woodland development project.

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Who delivered this training event?

Paths for All's Technical Officer, Kevin Fairclough, delivered the two day training event on behalf of BSCC. Under Paths for All's 'One Stop Shop' service, Kevin's primary role is to provide best practice advice, support and bespoke training to community groups, Access Officers and others on all matters relating to the technical aspects of path planning, design, procurement, construction and maintenance, and construction health and safety.

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What training was delivered over the two days?

Day 1

The morning session looked at path planning and focused on which information is needed to make the right planning decisions before building the path. Participants were also given a comprehensive overview of how to survey and design paths - which provided the necessary information to survey the proposed route on the community woodland and then to design the path in the afternoon.

In the afternoon, participants took part in an outdoor practical exercise. In groups, the proposed route on the community woodland was surveyed with the opportunity for participants to try out surveying equipment. They produced field sketches and notes on a site assessment survey sheet regarding ground conditions and initial path design considerations. This information was then used to consider the appropriate design for the path.

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Day 2

In the morning session, participants learnt how paths are built in places such as woodland sites and gained more understanding of path maintenance and its importance. How to develop a maintenance schedule and inspect paths were also covered.

In the afternoon. participants carried out practical maintenance work on a local community path in Broadford. The worn path was rejuvenated with everyone getting stuck in to remove surface vegetation and then to resurface the path. Everyone gave 100%!

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What conclusions did PFA draw from the training event?

The two day training event attracted local people from different community groups on Skye. This demonstrated that there was a need for training for local people on the island.

All participants supported the formation of a BSCC community path group to carry out maintenance on the local paths and everyone showed a willingness to join the group.

What did participants say about the weekend?

  • Will assist BSCC with the construction of their new path

  • Feel more confident to talk about path building at work

  • Going to find out more about the subject

  • Plan to do path maintenance on Eilean Bàn

  • Going to maintain our community paths

  • Good fun to have learnt something new

  • Now know how to build a path with a good sub base

  • It was a good course

  • Practical, informative, local

Who supported the training event?

The training event was supported by:

  • The Scottish Government Skills Development Scheme

  • The Robertson Trust

  • Community Woodlands Association

  • Broadford and Strath Community Company

  • West Highland College UHI (Broadford College Centre) and Highlife Highland Funding

  • Paths for All


Photographs: Shirley Grant, Broadford and Strath Community Company.

Thanks to Shirley for organising the event and inviting Paths for All to attend and deliver the training on behalf of Broadford and Strath Community Company, and the Isle of Skye communities.

The weekend was a great success!

Click here if you would like Paths for All to deliver training for your organisation and to find out more about the One Stop Shop.

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© 2014 Paths for All - Registered Scottish Charity No: SC025535, Company Limited by Guarantee No: 168554 inc. 19 Sept 1996 at Companies House, Edinburgh