Mearns Coastal Trail Development Group, a subgroup of Visit Mearns, is focusing its efforts on restoring and maintaining the Mearns Coastal Path, which is at risk of being lost completely via a combination of neglect, natural coastal erosion and storm damage.
The group, which is entirely voluntary, has recently been successful in a bid for first stage funding that will allow initial works to commence in order to restore and maintain the Mearns Coastal Trail as a valuable asset in both tourism and local social capital terms. The overall goal is to develop and promote the Trail by linking existing attractions/points of interest, whilst providing opportunities to develop new attractions and services. The group is keen to preserve and promote the wide and varied heritage and natural history of the area for both local communities and visitors along the Mearns coast.
Once fully restored and with its stunning views and accessible terrain, the Trail will attract visitors and walkers of all abilities. It will enable local people and visitors to reach neighbouring settlements and partake in recreational, health and fitness activities. Involvement by volunteers in aspects of the project will enhance their resilience, social co-operation and interaction with each other and nearby communities along the path.
In addition, by improving access to the attractions of the Trail, we would expect increased tourism with potential growth in local recreational and business spin-off opportunities. This would lead to; stimulation of the local economy, creation of more jobs, and hence reduce the migration of young people from the area.
By restoring the Trail, the group hopes to be able to enhance the experience for all and to enable the public to use and benefit from the Trail.
This medium to long term project will include repairing or restoring paths, fencing, bridges and hand rails, placement of benches, signage, and diversion around dangerous areas, focusing on safety and access. The group intends to eventually provide information boards to help path users identify and understand the challenges the natural world faces along the coast, as well as drawing attention to the rich historical and natural heritage of the area. Hopefully users will also become more involved in improving their natural surroundings and participating in community activities, leading to improvements in their physical and emotional well-being.
The Trail from Inverbervie to Johnshaven has recently been upgraded and provides a safe passage. The Mearns Coastal Trail Development Group is concentrating its efforts on the stretch from Johnshaven to the St Cyrus Nature Reserve. This has been neglected and hence some sections have become unsafe and even impassable.