The development of a coastal path along the North Solway Coast has long been mooted and is the missing link between coastal routes in Ayrshire and Cumbria.
A route would offer residents and visitors alike the opportunity to experience in full the region’s spectacular and varied coastline, while at the same time potentially generating economic, health and environmental benefits.
General thinking regarding the route is that it would start/finish in Gretna and finish/start in Portpatrick.
Alternatively, the route could continue onto Cairnryan or the Ayrshire coast path via the Rhins Coastal Path or Southern Upland Way then linking into the Loch Ryan path.
Presently the potential route is a jigsaw of sections made up of existing long-distance and Core footpaths, disused railway beds, accessible land under the Outdoor Access legislation, and quieter country lanes. Along the potential route there are also numerous information gaps and barriers.
Work to Date:
In 2011 a joint meeting between NatureScot (then Scottish Natural Heritage), Southern Uplands Partnership and Dumfries and Galloway Council identified a potential multi-agency
approach to a route development. Funding was made available for a feasibility study exploring the options for development of a route – ‘Towards a North Solway Coastal Way’,
In July 2021 a joint meeting between the Southern Uplands Partnership, Mark Jardine and Dumfries and Galloway Council revisited the idea of a South West Scotland Coastal Trail.
Funding was identified through the People’s Project (www.peoplesproject.co.uk/) that could be used to fund a part-time two-year contract to move the project forward.
Key actions of the role include:
- To review and update the ‘Towards a North Solway Coastal Way’ feasibility study.
- To develop a deliverable, practical and costed Project Plan and Action Plan covering community/stakeholder engagement, routing, work delivery, and funding.
- To network and consult with key stakeholders; including communities, government agencies, partners, and other interested parties along the route to identify opportunities, barriers, solutions and gain buy-in.
- To establish local working groups of interested individuals/groups to assist with the development of path sections.
- Development of funding bids to enable the delivery of the project, including staffing, legal processes, contractor and contingency planning.
- To lead the tendering of the path works and manage contractors through the delivery of the path creation (this will potentially take place after year 2).