Bailies of Bennachie Awarded 'Better Places' Grant

February 2021

The conservation charity Bailies of Bennachie are delighted to have been awarded a Better Places Grant from NatureScot. The grant will fund the first stage of examining the pressure of visitors on the hill so that recreation at Bennachie can be managed more sustainably. The Bailies will look at how visitors currently use the hill and work with users and landowners to find the better ways for this to be managed in the future.

The chair of the Bailies Jackie Cumberbirch said:

“This is great news for Bennachie. We know how important the hill range is to many people who come to its slopes to walk, run, cycle mountain bikes, horse ride and in recent weeks ski. It is also used for commercial forestry and is home to wide selection of wildlife.”

“The funding gives us a tight timetable to meet but over the next six weeks we will set out the main issues and start an audit of all the routes on the hill. We plan to work with Forestry and Land Scotland, private landowners and groups that regularly use the hill to work towards better and more integrated visitor management.”

The grant will enable the Bailies to engage local consultants ‘Walking- the- Talk’ to guide the charity through the project. They will be working with volunteers and others to improve the understanding of the routes of Bennachie and who is using them. Part of this will be looking at similar sites that face or have addressed similar challenges and lessons that can be applied to Bennachie.

Chris York, from Walking-the-Talk said:

“This is an exciting start, focussing on visitor experience to this incredibly important hill. The grant will enable the Bailies and others to begin addressing the challenges of large visitor numbers and draw together ideas on sustainable visitor management so that these can be implemented as soon as practicably possible. It’s not so much about looking for new facilities as doing things better by working together.”

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