The development of a trail along the north Solway coast has long been mooted to provide the missing walking link between coastal routes in Ayrshire and Cumbria. Following a joint meeting between Southern Uplands Partnership, NatureScot (then Scottish Natural Heritage), and Dumfries & Galloway Council back in 2011 the first steps were taken to making this trail a reality. Funding was made available and SUP undertook a feasibility study exploring the options for development of a route – Towards a North Solway Coastal Path, March 2012. Fast forward 10 years and in July 2021 a joint meeting between the Southern Uplands Partnership, Mark Jardine (People’s Project) and Dumfries & Galloway Council revisited the idea and funding was identified through the People’s Project (www.peoplesproject.co.uk/) that could be used to fund a Project Officer contract to move the project forward and make some real change on the ground.
In January 2022 a Project Officer was recruited and since then great strides have been made to move the project forward with a desired line created (subject to further consultation) from Gretna to Dalbeattie to date.
Funding has also been granted by Paths for All, Robin Rigg Communities Fund, Dumfriesshire East Community Benefit Group and FCC Communities Fund to enable a start on the project and to allow an upgrade on existing structures along the coastal way.
This has involved gorse removal on the Sandyhills-Rockcliffe section, with great help from the Criminal Justice team as well as upcoming path & accessibility improvement works on the Gretna to Dornock, Glencaple to Kingholm Quay, Sandyhills to Rockcliffe sections.
The trail will offer residents and visitors alike the opportunity to experience in full the regions spectacular and varied coastline, while, at the same time, connecting communities across Dumfries & Galloway as well as generating economic, health and environmental benefits.
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