The River South Esk Catchment Partnership’s innovative project -the ‘Wild South Esk’ will go live during march 20201. Interpretation should begin to be installed next week and the website www.wildsouthesk.org will be online after the first post is in the ground!
The project links ten very different Angus habitats, highlighting opportunities to enjoy nature, walking and cycling. The 50-mile-long trail from the River South Esk’s ‘Source to Sea’ will take you on an adventure from the Cairngorm Mountains to Montrose Basin Local Nature Reserve and the North Sea.
This unique project is part an Angus LEADER Transnational Cooperation Project ‘OurRivers’ with partners in Merikarvia, Finland. The project has shared good practice on climate resilient communities, invasive non-native species, and rural economic diversification. The total project value is approx. £72k – (£5.5k match funding from Aberlemno Community Council, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Angus Council, and the River South Esk Catchment Partnership). The remainder has been awarded from Angus LEADER and will be a great legacy project for this last round of funding.
The ‘Wild South Esk’ trail shares an insight into the life history of 40 native species at ten sites as well as 15 local walks suitable for a range of abilities. Eight new on-site interpretation panels incorporating beautiful bespoke illustrations are in urban parks, native woodland, upland heath and importantly by the riverside. Sites can be cycled to from various locations in Angus and the next stop on the trail is shown at each site.
Supporting the projects main aim of facilitating access to the river and outdoor spaces for all members of the community and visitors, infrastructure has been enhanced at two sites improving accessibility for locals and visitors to the area. The project provides a fantastic opportunity to encourage exercise and boost mental health and wellbeing by promoting nature rich sites. Importantly it helps install a sense of pride in place in communities who’ve helped shape the project, 10 Angus landowners are involved, two Community Councils and Shaping Angus was used in an initial consultation in 2018 ‘Wildlife Watching on the River South Esk’ https://shapingangus.co.uk/wildlife-watching-on-the-river-south-esk/map#/.
Initially to be launched in summer 2020 as part of Angus’s ‘Year of Coasts and Waters’ celebrations the route will go live in late March – just in time for #YCW2021. The project website www.wildsouthesk.org highlights all 10 sites, has a PDF catchment wide map and provides further information on projects that are supporting nature, restoration and wellbeing in the catchment. There are also links to links to Visit Angus pages on local accommodation, eating out, visitor attractions etc.
The delay in installation has provided some added opportunities – South Esk Primary School in Montrose are on board as the rivers ‘Species Champions’ and the Partnership are promoting the project via the Brechin Community Led Tourism SENScot Scottish Government Pilot.
Our leaflet provides direction to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code to promote the sensible use of the countryside. Many of us will be enjoying Angus’s countryside more than ever this year and you can tag as on Instagram @wildsouthesk with your pics taken at these fantastic sites if you get a chance to visit.