It is no surprise to those who live here or anyone who has visited, that our rural parishes of Keir, Penpont and Tynron in Mid Nithsdale are exceptionally beautiful.
Dumfries and Galloway Council have mapped many core paths within our area and also there are other walks suited to both experienced and more leisurely walkers.
Since the inception of the KPT Development Trust, the Tracks and Trails Group have been working to encourage and promote walking and cycling in the area.
KPT Development Trust has become part of the Cycling Friendly Community under the cycling Scotland umbrella and have funded cycle repair hubs, information boards and improve cycling skills and maintenance through workshops and family fun bike rides.
Penpont – Keir Mill Circular Walk: The Tracks and Trails Group secured a Paths 4 All grant in 2018 to increase the awareness of Dumfries and Galloway council’s core path 104 between Penpont and Keir as well as improving some of its features. A guide leaflet with a map and points of environmental and historical interest was produced. Way markers were installed along with a new bench made of recycled agricultural plastic.
The Tracks and Trails Group are grateful to Paths 4 All and to all local volunteers who continue to be involved.
Copies of the leaflet are available at the Trust base as well as Penpont Shop. Copies can be requested by e-mail or downloaded here.
Penpont to Thornhill Active Travel Path: The aim of this path is to ensure that residents and visitors of all ages and abilities can travel safely between Penpont and Thornhill without encountering the obvious hazards that the A702 presents. This path will be a multi-user route, with a sealed surface, offering a pleasant accessible track for everyone – walkers, runners, cyclists and wheelchair users. There will be well-positioned benches to enjoy those stunning rural views.
To achieve this objective, the Trust are grateful to have received substantial funding from the Scottish Government through Sustrans, Scotland’s Places for Everyone programme. The Tracks and Trails group work closely with Sustrans and have reached the developed design stage of the path, having appointed TP&E, a social enterprise consultancy firm. Working with Sustrans means that the path will be built to their exacting standards and in doing so, they will give 70% of the construction costs.
For further information on this path, please contact the Trust office.
Path Progress Update June 2021
Thanks to Sustrans and Scottish Land Fund grants the purchase and lease agreements are reaching the final stages for the route shown below. Sustrans have agreed to a phased approach to construction, starting with phase 1a Penpont to Drumlanrig road end, a distance of 2.64km. The design of 1a is almost complete and the Tracks and Trails Group are applying for grants for construction which we hope to start next spring. Phase 1b to Nith Bridge and 1c to Gill Road triangle include plans for traffic lights on the bridge and require design work on a safe crossing at Gill Road. All decisions have to comply with road safety regulations and Sustrans standards which require all paths to meet the standards that are based on children age 12 and over being able to cycle independently. The engineers, T,P&E, anticipate design 1a,b & c will be completed by the autumn.
How you can help:
Please spread the word: the bigger the response, the stronger evidence we have for grant applications and other ways to fund this much needed path. Please See Poster below to make comment on the KPT Development Trust Facebook page.
Help raise funds: Phase 1a is costing just over one million pounds. Sustrans will contribute 70% but we need to source match funding. The Tracks group have already secured grants of £120,000 and are busy applying to other sources for grants. Do not be daunted by these figures – volunteers for fundraising, events big and small, most welcome. If you would like to help KPT run a sponsored event, please get in touch. Sustrans match fund everything we can raise, so every little helps.
Compensatory planting: Where the path crosses roads, short sections of hedges have to be removed for safe sight lines. A few trees will be cut in Virginhall Woods to create a corridor for the path. Compensatory planting within the path boundaries is not practicable so KPT would like to hear from landowners in the vicinity of the path who have small sites where they would like native trees or hedging. The tracks group are planning wild flower verges and other features to support biodiversity within the path corridor.
Thornhill Steering Group: Following the Thornhill Callout, a core group of Thornhill residents are forming a Thornhill Steering Group which will work with KPT Steering Group and the engineers on the design of the path from Nith Bridge to the 30mph sign. KPT and Sustrans ambition has always been to link this safely to Wallacehall and there has been a very positive response to this proposal . Hopefully Thornhill Steering Group will take on Phase 2 to provide a safe route to Wallacehall. Additional volunteers to join this group are most welcome.
Promoting cycling: KPT are planning a ‘Celebration of Cycling’ weekend with a wide range of family-friendly activities. The date is to be confirmed but will be after the school holidays. If you are interested in helping with this event, we would be delighted to hear from you. A cycle repair station has been installed beside the new community café in Penpont, open to all who need to pump up tyres or do minor adjustments.
Tynron to Keir Path: In 2019 the Tracks and Trails group were awarded a £1,000 grant from the Prince’s Countryside fund to enhance the experience of the Keir to Tynron (core path 73). This grant will help fund a guide leaflet, installation of a pedestrian gate on the A702, two benches and information boards. This project has been delayed by tree felling and Covid-19 but is now progressing. Information boards and installation of a pedestrian gate on Ford farm. D&G Outdoor Access Team have installed 2in1 gates enabling walkers to go through fields instead of long twisty section of the A702. Two benches have been installed at viewpoints along the way.
Keir to Scaurfoot path: The tracks and Trails group were approached by Keir Community Council about the potential to improve this part of Core path 104 from Keir metal bridge to Scaurfoot. It is hoped to produce an on-line leaflet and install a bench. The Group are currently in discussion with the farmer and D & G Council.
The Tracks and Trails group are keen to promote other existing walking and cycling routes in the area. Further information on routes is available on: Dumfries and Galloway core paths walking and cycling webpage https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/mapviewers/pathsmap.aspx.
Cycling in and Around Nithsdale
Dumfries and Galloway Green Travel Map
Please may we ask all walkers and cyclists, local or visiting, read and obey the Scottish Outdoor Access Code www.outdooraccess-scotland.scot
The New Keir, Penpont and Tynron Footpaths Maps – please download