Gateway to Nature
PLANS for a new £2.3 million Wester Ross visitor centre at a major natural visitor attraction have been revealed.
Conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland says its plans for a world-class visitor facility at Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve will go ahead thanks to £923,277 funding from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund.
The project will pave the way for the charity, responsible for protecting Scotland’s national and natural treasures, to build a new visitor centre and toilet facilities. It says it will improve parking at the beauty spot and expand the path network with improved wayfinding and interpretation.
The remaining funding for the project comes from the charity’s own reserves.
The charity's general manager for the North West, Clea Warner, said: “Thanks to this fantastic funding, our charity can continue to invest in the Wester Ross area.These new facilities will be the gateway to the rich natural heritage of the gorge and the Falls of Measach, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the UK and will make a major contribution to the local area, vastly improving the welcome we can offer the increasing number of visitors who are heading north.”
Corrieshalloch Gorge has seen a 60 per cent increase in visitor numbers since 2012, with almost 140,000 visitors in 2017/8.
Ms Warner added: “As a national nature reserve, Corrieshalloch Gorge requires intensive protection. These new facilities will help us to accommodate the growing number of visitors, while ensuring the site gets the important conservation care that a place of such importance needs.”
Francesca Osowska, Scottish Natural Heritage's chief executive, added: “A key priority for SNH is to help ensure tourism and other sectors benefit from, and invest in, Scotland’s high quality environment. Nature and culture are closely linked in the Highlands Islands, and in many places they are central to the local economy, maintaining rural populations, jobs and skills. This project will bring significant benefits to the local area for years to come, and give visitors even more to enjoy in these iconic areas of Scotland.”
The Corrieshalloch Gorge Gateway to Nature project is part of a new £5 million Scottish programme of projects to invest in the Highlands and islands to provide more and better quality opportunities for visitors to enjoy natural and cultural heritage assets. The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund is led by Scottish Natural Heritage and is part funded through the European Development Fund.
The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund will encourage people to visit some of the more remote and rural areas and create and sustain jobs, businesses and services in local communities. The purpose of the fund is to promote and develop the outstanding natural and cultural heritage of the Highlands and islands in a way that conserves and protects them.