East Ayrshire Core Path Plan

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1 1 Introduction 2 The East Ayrshire Core Path Plan In February 2005 the Land Reform Scotland Act (2003) was enacted, putting several powers and duties on East Ayrshire Council to enable them to maintain responsible use of the outdoors, both land and inland water. These include the duty to produce a Core Path Plan that will meet the needs of the community, providing a framework of routes sufficient for the purpose of giving reasonable access throughout the area. This piece of legislation provided East Ayrshire Council and its partner the East Ayrshire Outdoor Access Forum the opportunity to promote the work undertaken as part of the implementation of the East Ayrshire Outdoor Access Strategy and supported by the East Ayrshire Community Plan. The East Ayrshire Outdoor Access Strategy was produced in October 2002 and aimed to deliver: 2.1 Benefits of the East Ayrshire Core Path Plan The implementation of the Core Path Plan is supported by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC). It is envisaged in East Ayrshire, that the Core Path Plan and the SOAC will play a key role in encouraging responsible access to the outdoors and reduce the perceived conflict between land managers and access users and between different user groups. Key to the SOAC is that access rights will only be permitted where they are exercised responsibly taking account of other people s privacy, safety and livelihood, being considerate of the needs of other access users and respecting the environment. A series of well planned, co-ordinated and used path networks which will provide connections between communities, meet the social and health needs of communities, realise the area s tourism potential, promote more sustainable transport choices and support economic and environmental regeneration. It will also, for the first time, promote a comprehensive list of recognised routes throughout the local authority area including routes which go beyond the East Ayrshire Council boundary, providing strategic links throughout South West Scotland. 2.2 What is a Core Path? A Core Path is a route which facilitates access to the outdoors under the Act. This can include routes on inland water. The Core Path Network will be made up of a number of categories of routes, including: Rights of Way, regardless of classification Paths, footways, footpaths cycle routes, bridle paths Rivers and other inland waters Minor roads Paths delineated under a Path Agreement or Path Order Not all paths will be included in the Core Path Plan. However, it is not possible for the Core Path Plan to exist in isolation. It will act as the basic framework from which the wider path network will radiate. The Core Path Plan will not affect the status of any other route. Rights of Way which are not included in the Core Path Plan will continue to exist in their current form and be protected under Section 46 (I) of the Countryside (Scotland) Act Although minor roads and footways may also be included in the Core Path Plan, their protection under the appropriate Roads and Planning legislation will continue. It should be noted that the designation of a route as a Core Path does not provide enhanced access rights and that access rights given under the Countryside (Scotland) Act 1967 and the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 would still apply to the wider countryside. Open Fields, Hills, Woods Wider Network of Paths East Ayrshire Core Path Plan Wider Network of Water In order to meet the Vision of the East Ayrshire Outdoor Access Strategy and the East Ayrshire Community Plan, the Core Path Plan for East Ayrshire will: Provide a basic framework to meet the needs of the communities Provide opportunities for all non-motorised recreational activities for people of all ages and abilities Raise awareness of local and strategic paths Be supported by good signage and information Compliment existing land management practices including agriculture and biodiversity 1 2

2 Development of Interim Draft Core Path Plan Development of the Draft Core Path Plan Scottish Planning Policy and Guidance 11: Open space and Physical Activity Adoption of Core Path Plan East Ayrshire Outdoor Access Strategy Maintaining the Core Path Plan East Ayrshire Community Plan Reviewing the Core Path Plan Ayrshire Joint Structure Plan 3 A more comprehensive account of the policies which contribute to the Core Path Plan can be found in Part 1 of the East Ayrshire Outdoor Access Strategy. Figure 1 (right) gives a summary of how the Core Path Plan fits into the policy framework for East Ayrshire. Planning Applications Environmental Report East Ayrshire Core Path Plan East Ayrshire Outdoor Access Strategy Ayrshire Joint Structure Plan Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report East Ayrshire Local Plan Other Non-Council Plans, Programmes and Strategies Selection of Candidate Core Paths It is important that the Core Path Plan is supported by a policy review of all local, regional and national strategies and policies, demonstrating the political commitment to the Plan. Although, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act is the driving legislation, there are a number of other acts and policies which support the development of the Core Path Plan including: Council Plan s Programmes and Strategies including any associated Environmental Reports Path Audit Ayrshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan. East Ayrshire Leisure and Cultural Strategy Policy review East Ayrshire Transport Strategy National Planning Framework A number of key stages have been and will be undertaken in the development of the East Ayrshire Core Path Plan. These are: Emerging East Ayrshire Leisure and Cultural Strategy UK and Scottish Legislation A wide range of partners have been involved in the development of the draft Core Path Plan, including the East Ayrshire Outdoor Access Forum, community groups and individuals, land managers, access interest groups, local agencies and organisations and neighbouring local authorities. It is important that this partnership continues throughout the development of the approved Core Path Plan to ensure that the needs of all interested parties are met and that the Core Path Plan is developed in an equitable, balanced and inclusive manner. East Ayrshire Local Plan Community Plan 2.3 Development of the East Ayrshire Core Path Plan Scottish Planning Policies, National Planning Policy Guidelines, Planning Advice Notes and Circulars Core Path Plan Figure 1: Relationship between the East Ayrshire Core Path Plan and Other Plans, Programmes and Strategies E A S T AY R S H I R E D R A F T 4

3 In order to understand the current provision of routes through East Ayrshire, it was essential to carry out an extensive path audit. It was deemed difficult to carry out this audit using traditional forms of consultation and surveying due to a lack of resources. Therefore, with the assistance of Scottish Natural Heritage and the Paths for All Partnership, an Outdoor Access Toolkit was developed in partnership with North Ayrshire Council. The toolkits were developed to provide local groups and organisations with all of the information and resources needed to identify routes in their local area and any ideas for linkages and extensions to these networks. Members of the East Ayrshire Outdoor Access Forum and land owning sectors also used these toolkits with their interest groups to enable them to contribute to the process. This process yielded more information about routes throughout East Ayrshire than ever before. The information gathered was then assessed against criteria developed by the East Ayrshire Outdoor Access Forum. It is important to assess each route using pre-determined criteria to ensure equity in selection of Candidate Core Paths. The criteria used to select the candidate core paths are outlined in the following table: 1 Level of demand within the community (from public consultations) 2 Links to wider path networks and other communities (including waterways and cross-border links) 3 Creation of circular routes 4 Provision of all abilities paths 5 Opportunities for multi use 6 Links to local interests of natural, cultural and built heritage (including amenities) 7 Managing the environmental impact of access 8 Opportunities for community regeneration and economic development e.g. tourism 9 Possibility of avoiding or mitigating land management conflicts 10 Value for money Once each route was assessed, paths which met most of the criteria were selected as candidate core paths. This information was digitised and an interim draft Core Path Plan was produced and was available for consultation through from the 21st December 2007 until 25th January After this round of informal consultation, the Plan was reviewed to take account of all comments. At this point, the draft Core Path Plan was produced and issued for statutory consultation on May 1st Following adoption of the East Ayrshire Core Path Plan, all routes within the Plan will become Core Paths. The Council will then have a duty to ensure that core paths are accessible, sign posted and promoted within two years of the adoption of the plan. It should be noted that Core Path Plan status does not put a duty of maintenance onto East Ayrshire Council. Maintenance of Core Paths will be carried out by a number of private and public sector individuals and organisations. Periodic review of the Core Path Plan is required under the Act. It is envisaged that the East Ayrshire Core Path Plan will be reviewed after 5 years. However, removals or diversions of Core Paths can be carried out relatively easily in response to planning needs, new developments and so on. The additional of new routes requires review of the Plan and for the full adoption procedure to be undertaken. 3 The Potential Core Paths In order to make the consultation of each route easier, East Ayrshire has been split into 6 areas, broadly in line with the Local Authority Wards. These are: Annick including Kilmaurs, Stewarton, Dunlop and Lugton Irvine Valley including Galston, Newmilns, Darvel, Priestland, Moscow, Waterside and Fenwick. Kilmarnock Area including Kilmarnock, Hurlford, Gatehead, Crosshouse and Knockentiber. Ballochmyle including Auchinleck, Mauchline, Sorn, Catrine, Lugar, Logan and Muirkirk Cumnock Area including Cumnock, New Cumnock, Ochiltree, Drongan, Doon Valley including Dalmellington, Patna, Bellsbank, Hollybush, Dalrymple, Waterside Figure 2 & 3 (overleaf) provides a summary of each route, its length and surface and how it meets the criteria. 5 6

4 Annick Paths No Name Route Surface Distance: Km Miles A1 Annick Water Tarmac, gravel and unmade path A2 Cunningham Watt Park (north). Gravel track A3 Stewarton / M77 Cycle Route. On Road Link A4 Stewarton Academy Cycle Route Tarmac cycle path and pavements A5 Lainshaw Estate Built whinstone path and on road A6 Cunningham Watt Park (south) Tarmac A7 Stewarton / Dunlop Minor road, field edge A8 Meikle Coursehill /Auchintiber Circular Farm track and unmade path A9 Auchintiber/Fullwood Route Farm track A10 Dunlop / Fulwood On road A11 Stewarton / Fenwick On road A12 Stewarton to Kilmaurs On road A13 Stewarton / Dunlop On road A14 Netherhouses to Bracken Haugh On road farm track and unmade path A15 Netherhouses Shortloop Gravel / Aggregate A16 Dunlop Hill Circular On road A17 Dunlop / Lugton On road A18 Lugton Circular On road A19 Kilmaurs/ Kilmarnock On road A20 Kilmaurs Town Trail On road, footway and unmade paths A21 Kilmaurs to Knockintiber Roadside Pavement A22 Woodhill Cycle Route Farm Tracks Ballochmyle Paths No Name Route Surface Distance: Km Miles B1 River Ayr Way Whinstone surfaced path parts on road links to South Ayrshire. Glenbuck to Ayr Harbour B2 River Ayr Way and Mauchline Circular Circular walk along River Ayr from Mauchluine. Part on road part on unmade path part on whinstone path B3 West Weldon Circular Circular walk on roads and farm track B4 Laurland tobogwood Circular Walk from Mauchline using parts of path B5 on road and unmade path B5 Ladyyard Circular Circular walk on road B6 Catrine to Sorn including Chapelbraes and Nimmos Brae On road and whinstone path part of the Catrine local path network B7 Howford Bridge Forms a circular walk with the River Ayr Way on road B8 Mauchline High Path Unmade Path /on road B9 Sornbank Plantation Path Whinstone surfaced path part of to Sorn Local path network B10 Four Farm Route On road circular from Sorn part of the Sorn local path network B11 Sorn to Auchinleck (part of the Coalfield Cycle Route) Path follows roads tracks and unmade paths to link Sorn and Auchinleck B12 Dalshalloch Plantation Gravel/unmade path B13 Cumnock to Lugar Disused railway unmade path B14 Cairn Table Unmade path to the top of Cairn Table B15 Smallburn Plantation On road and forest track forms a circular to River Ayr Way B16 Kirk Plantation Gravel Path B17 Muirkirk to Sanquhar Gravel Track and trodden path B18 Woodroad Park to Lugar Road Link to Lugar Road. Gravel track B19 Burnfoot Moor Forest track and minor road B20 Mauchline to Galston On road B21 Catrine to Galston On road

5 Cumnock Paths No Name Route Surface Distance: Km Miles C1 Woodroad Park Tarmac path C2 Woodroad Park Tarmac path and gravel aggregate path C3 Lord Bute s Walk Gravel Cycleway C4 Bareshare Path Gravel and unmade paths C5 Cumnock to Lugar Dismantled railway C6 Ochilltree to Cumnock Unmade path C7 Ochilltree Circular Surfaced gravel path and on road C8 Ochilltree to Auchinbay On road link to River Ayr Way on road C9 Part of link to Drongan On road C10 Cumnock to New Cumnock Part of the Scottish Coal Cycle Route C11 Knockshinnck Lagoons Network Gravel tracks C12 New Cumnock Circular On road and unmade paths C13 Castle Path Path follows Afton River C14 Glen Afton On road and unmade path C15 Part of Old Howford Bridge to Haugh Farm Circular On Road C16 Link Path part of Catrine to Auchinleck. On Road Gravel and aggregate track Doon Valley Paths No Name Route Surface Distance: Km Miles D1 Hanniston Ponds Circular Whinstone path D2 Drongan to Barbiston Circular On Road D3 Drongan to Hanniston Pond Link Grass Track good D4 Patna / Rankinston / Sinclarston Disused Railway/ grasstrack D5 Patna Bridleway Grasstrack D6 Patna to Straiton Forestry Roads / Unmade path D7 Hollybush Circular Whinstone circular path D8 Dalrymple River Walk Unmade path D9 Dalrymple Circular On road D10 Patna / Waterside Circular Disused Railway /Grass Track D11 Loch Doon Forest Road Whinstone Forest Road D12 Dalmellington to Bogton Plantation On road and stone surfaced track part of link to Loch Doon D13 Dalcairnie Falls and Auchenroy Hill. Circular path whinstone surface and machine constructed grasspath D14 Dalmellington to Loch Doon Via Ness Glen. Farm track and constructed whinstone path D15 Bogton Plantation Link Bellsbank to Craigengillen path network D16 Craigengillan / Knockdon Stone track and unmade path D17 Craigengillan / Eriff Stone track D18 Carmlarg Trodden earth and farm track D19 Drongan to Ochiltree On road

6 Kilmarnock Paths No Name Route Surface Distance: Km Miles K1 National Cycle route N73 Tarmac K2 Western Road On road K3 Dean Cycle Route On road K4 Western Road to Fairyhill Road On road K5 Strawberrybank Road to Armour Street On road K6 Grassyards Road On road K7 Grassyards Road to Burnside Road On road K8 Kilmarnock Hurlford On road and tarmac cycleway K9 Gatehead to Kilmarnock On road and tarmac cycleway K10 Assloss Road On road and tarmac cycleway K11 Caprington Estate Trodden earth and estate paths K12 Gatehead to Crosshouse On road K13 Crosshouse to Knocentiber On roadside pavement K14 Kilmarnock to Kilmaurs Farm Track K15 Northcraig Reservoir Trodden path K16 South Woodhill Cycle Route Farm Track Irvine Valley Paths No Name Route Surface Distance: Km Miles IV1 Hurlford to Galston Tarmac cycle track IV2 Galston to Mauchline / Catrine On road IV3 Irvine Valley Spinal Route Galston to Preistland IV4 Burn Anne Walk Gravel Path IV5 Irvine Valley Southern Link Route On road IV6 Big Wood Gravel path IV7 Newmilns Primary School Link Gilfoot to New Milns IV8 River Irvine Cycle Route On access roads IV9 Kilmarnock to Whitelee On road IV10 Waterside to Whitelee Forest On road IV11 Craufurdland Water Farm tracks through fields IV12 Hareshaw Hill On road and forest track IV13 Annick Valley connection to the A77 Cycle Route On Road IV14 A77 Cycle Route On Road IV15 New Milns to Darvel Hill Road On road farm track and through fields IV16 Darvel to Whitelee Forest The Weavers Trail On Road IV17 Newmilns to Darvel through Lanfine Estate Farm tracks and gravel paths IV18 Long Cairn Walk On road farm track and trodden path IV19 Darvel to Loudonhill Disused Railway Line

7 Selection Criteria Summary Selection Criteria Summary PATH NAME: A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 A8 A9 A10 A11 A12 A13 A14 A15 A16 A17 A18 A19 A20 A21 A22 B1a B1b PATH NAME: B1c B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B10 B11 B12 B13 B14 B15 B16 B17 B18 B19 B20 B21 C1 C2 C3 Community Demand Community Demand Links to wider path network and communities Links to wider path network and communities Creation of Circular routes Creation of Circular routes Provision of All Abilities routes Provision of All Abilities routes Opportunities for Multi Use Opportunities for Multi Use Links to local interests Links to local interests Managing environmental impact Managing environmental impact Opportunities for community and economic regeneration Opportunities for community and economic regeneration Avoiding land management conflicts Avoiding land management conflicts Value for money Value for money 13 14

8 Selection Criteria Summary Selection Criteria Summary PATH NAME: C4 C5 C6 C7 C8 C9 C10 C11 C12 C13 C14 C15 C16 D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 D10 D11 PATH NAME: D12 D13 D14 D15 D16 D17 D18 D19 K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 Community Demand Community Demand Links to wider path network and communities Links to wider path network and communities Creation of Circular routes Creation of Circular routes Provision of All Abilities routes Provision of All Abilities routes Opportunities for Multi Use Opportunities for Multi Use Links to local interests Links to local interests Managing environmental impact Managing environmental impact Opportunities for community and economic regeneration Opportunities for community and economic regeneration Avoiding land management conflicts Avoiding land management conflicts Value for money Value for money 15 16

9 Selection Criteria Summary Community Demand PATH NAME: Links to wider path network and communities Creation of Circular routes Provision of All Abilities routes Opportunities for Multi Use Links to local interests Managing environmental impact Opportunities for community and economic regeneration Avoiding land management conflicts Value for money IV1 IV2 IV3 IV4 IV5 IV6 IV7 IV8 IV9 IV10 IV11 IV12 IV13 IV14 IV15 IV16 IV17 IV18 IV Core Paths on Water Because the access rights extend to water we have included a 7th area or set of maps with proposed core paths on water. The intention is to provide safer access to water for rowing, canoeing and other non-motorised water sports. 3.2 Core Paths in Neighbouring Authorities Just as core paths do not exist in isolation from the wider path network, they do not stop at the local authority boundary. During the development of the draft Core Path Plan, we have tried to work in partnership with our neighbouring authorities to ensure that cross boundary paths are included. Each local authority core path plan is at a different stage of development and you should contact them directly for further information about routes in their area. The following table provides contact details that may be useful. Local Authority North Ayrshire Council South Ayrshire Council East Renfrewshire Council South Lanarkshire Council Dumfries & Galloway Council The Maps Explained Telephone Maps are also included to show area overviews and an East Ayrshire wide overview. However, every proposed core path is detailed on an individual plan. The plan also includes: Route Name and Number. Every path has been given a number. This will help with future management of the route. Recommended use. Using the recognised logos for outdoor access in East Ayrshire, we have made recommendations of the type of use that the path would support. This is a professional judgement based on path material and construction, land management issues and safety and route location. It is important to note that this is only a recommendation and does not affect the statutory rights of responsible access. Route Description. A brief description of the route is given to enable the user to determine whether or not the route is suitable for them. Length. The length is given in kilometres and miles. Table of Criteria. The reason each path has been selected as a potential core path is detailed in a table outlining the criteria it meets and why. Future Development Opportunities. Again based on professional judgement, we have outlined any future opportunities to improve the route or to connect the route to the wider network. This does not make up an action plan for future implementation and improvements and does not guarantee that this work will be carried out

10 Scottish Outdoor Access Code Know the Code before you go Enjoy Scotland s outdoors. It s a great place that contributes to your quality of life, your health and your awareness and enjoyment of your surroundings. Everyone has the right to be on most land and inland water for recreation, education and for going from place to place providing they act responsibly. These rights and responsibilities are explained in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. 19 Know your access rights Access rights cover many activities, including for example: informal activities, such as picnicking, photography and sightseeing; active pursuits, including walking, cycling, riding, canoeing and wild camping; taking part in recreational and educational events; simply going from one place to another. These access rights don t apply to any kind of motorised activity (unless for disabled access) or to hunting, shooting or fishing. Access rights can be exercised over most of Scotland, from urban parks and path networks to our hills and forests, and from farmland and field margins to our beaches, lochs and rivers. However, access rights don t apply everywhere, such as in buildings or their immediate surroundings, or in houses or their gardens, or most land in which crops are growing. Know the Code Access rights come with responsibilities which are fully explained in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, though the main thing is to use common sense. You need to take responsibility for your own actions, respect the interests of others and care for the environment What does all this mean? When you re in the outdoors, you need to: Take responsibility for your own actions - The outdoors is a great place to enjoy but it s also a working environment and has many natural hazards. Make sure you are aware of these and act safely, follow any reasonable advice and respect the needs of other people enjoying or working in the outdoors. Respect people s privacy and peace of mind - Privacy is important for everyone. Avoid causing alarm to people, especially at night, by keeping a reasonable distance from houses and private gardens, or by using paths or tracks. Help farmers, landowners and others to work safely and effectively - Keep a safe distance from any work and watch for signs that tell you dangerous activities are being carried out, such as tree felling or crop spraying. You can also help by: - leaving gates as you find them; - not blocking or obstructing an entrance or track; - looking for alternative routes before entering a field containing animals; - not feeding animals; - using local advice so that you can take account of shooting and stalking; - not damaging fences or walls; and by - avoiding damage to crops by using paths and tracks, by using the margins of the field, or by going over ground that hasn t been planted. Care for the environment Our environment contributes greatly to everyone s quality of life and health. It s important that you: - follow any reasonable advice and information; - take your litter home; - treat places with care, leaving them as you find them; - don t recklessly disturb or intentionally damage wildlife or historic places. Keep your dog under proper control If you have a dog with you, it s very important that it doesn't worry livestock or alarm others. Don t let it into fields with calves or lambs, and keep it on a short lead or under close control when you re in a field with other animals. If cattle react aggressively to your dog, let go of it immediately and take the safest route out of the field. Take care to ensure that you or your dog don t disturb breeding birds. Pick up your dog s faeces if it defecates in any place where it is likely to cause concern to other people. Take extra care if you are organising a group, an event or running a business Consult the full Code or our website for information about your responsibilities. If you re a farmer, landowner or someone else managing the outdoors, you need to think about the needs of people enjoying the outdoors. You need to: Respect access rights Access rights extend to most of Scotland so don t unreasonably obstruct people on your land or water. Only lock gates when it s essential for animal health or safety and don t put a fence across a path without putting in a gate to allow access. Providing paths and tracks is a good way of integrating access and land management. Act reasonably when asking people to avoid a particular area whilst you re working - People respond best to polite and reasonable requests, so keep safety measures in place for the minimum time, tell people about alternative routes and explain why the original route shouldn t be used. Remove information that is not up to date. Work with your local authority and other bodies to help integrate access and land management - Showing people that they re welcome and working with your local authority, or your national park authority, and others will help you successfully manage access over your land and help care for the environment. If you re responsible for places where access rights don t apply, such as a farmyard or land surrounding a building, respect rights of way and any customary access, and work with your local authority, or your national park authority, and others to help improve and manage access. Find out more about your access rights and responsibilities and also about rights of way and customary access by picking up the Scottish Outdoor Access Code or visiting If you are having access problems - get in touch with your local authority or national park authority (see your local phone book). If you would like to have a copy of the full Code phone Scottish Natural Heritage on or Look out for other approved guidance which carries the Access Code logo. Statutory access rights were established by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code was approved by the Scottish Parliament on 1 July The rights came into effect on 9 February

11 E A S T AY R S H I R E D R A F T Core Path Plan East Ayrshire Overview 21 22

12 E A S T AY R S H I R E D R A F T Core Path Plan Core Paths on Water Under the Land Reform Act (2003) access rights also extend to water. Therefore we are proposing a Core Paths Network on water which will enable the local authority to provide for safer access to water for rowing, canoeing and other non-motorised water sports. East Ayrshire Council will work with other partners to ensure that information to improve water safety is made available as access to and from the water is improved. The map outlines all the main watercourses in East Ayrshire. However, we are only proposing the following water bodies as core paths due to their size, accessibility and previous use; The River Irvine The Annick Water The Kilmarnock Water The River Ayr The Lugar Water The River Doon The River Nith Loch Doon Safety: It is recommended that users seek advice from local canoeing and rowing clubs before using Core Paths on Water and to ensure that their skills are sufficient for the conditions.water can be dangerous and rivers can be very dangerous following heavy rain, only those with suitable skills and equipment should venture out

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