Culag Woods and Little Assynt Paths II
This project builds on work already achieved at Culag Woods and Little Assynt through the original project.
Culag Community Woodland Trust Ltd (CCWT) manages two properties on behalf of the community of Assynt: Culag Woods 40ha woodland in Lochinver and Little Assynt a 1200ha estate approximately five miles east of Lochinver. Both properties have networks of a variety of paths which are used regularly by locals and visitors.
Since the formation of CCWT in 1995 several phases of path works have been carried out and the paths are maintained through a combination of volunteers and paid contractors. The built path network at Little Assynt and in Culag Woods total around 16km. The network has become an important facility for those that live locally and those that visit the area. It is one of the few places where people of varying abilities can all walk together away from the road network. It offers the freedom for children to run and play in an area away from the dangers of the road.
The new work, has achieved the following:
Strimming: The paths at Little Assynt need strimming on an annual basis to help reduce the amount of vegetation that is encroaching and reseeding onto the paths. The project enabled us to strim three times a year – in the late spring, summer and early autumn.
Path re – establishment: Certain areas of the path at Little Assynt had become completely overgrown. These areas were dug out again to return them to the network.
Noticeboards: Noticeboards were installed as part of the original path project in 2008. These boards have now been replaced with more robust designs as exposure to the elements has caused the originals to deteriorate.
Car park: The car park at the All Abilities path has been resurfaced as it had become quite rough and poses some difficulties for those using wheelchairs.
Signage: Some small additional signage at path junctions was also requested by path users frequently over the past few years, and was provided through the project. This enhances the user friendly nature of the network.
In Culag Woods, additional work to increase the resilience of the path network has taken place:
Higgledy Piggledy Path: The short 100m long section of the woodland path known as the Higgledy Piggledy Path was constructed in 1998 from wood and aggregate. After 21 years of use it was in a poor state. A more robust upgrade of the whole path is improving its resilience and ensure it will be there for a further 21 years for people to enjoy.
Stone steps: The improvements to the steps on Billy’s path, close to the western end of the Higgledy Piggledy path in 2020 have been very well received by visitors to the woodland. But it has highlighted further issues with another small section nearby which has now had similar treatment to bring it up to a similar standard. The original wooden steps installed at around 20 years ago were worn and slippery. They were replaced by stone steps which are longer lasting and provide a more stable experience for the path user. This will be continued further along the path where more wooden steps now require replacement.
Cross drain: There is also a section of Billy’s path approximately 100m north of the junction with the Higgledy Piggledy path which will receive an additional cross drain to help with channelling rain water from the path.
Noticeboards: The original Little Assynt boards will be refurbished and those at Culag Woods reused, in a less exposed position where they will be more accessible for ongoing maintenance.
The project will enable more people of all abilities to experience, enjoy and value the natural heritage of the area. It will also help improve their wellbeing and mental health.