In 2012, a section of woodland along the Turret Burn, between Mungall Park and Lady Mary’s Walk was purchased for the people of Crieff. The purchase was led by a working group under the auspices of the Crieff and Upper Strathearn Partnership, and upon completion of the purchase, the title for the land was transferred to the Crieff Community Initiative to be held in trust for the people of Crieff. This area of community-owned land was known as Acorn Dell and renamed Turretbank Wood in December 2016.
Here is a map showing the location and extent of the community owned land at Turretbank Wood (in pink and blue).
One of the main reasons for purchasing this land was to enable the local community to take action to repair and upgrade the path. A survey conducted by the Perth & Kinross Council Countryside Ranger service in July 2013, found that the footpath through Turretbank Wood was accessed by an average of 160 walkers per day (more than 4,500 people per month) during this one-month period alone. This is a very popular walk in Crieff (being the first section of Lady Mary’s Walk), and is used by both residents and visitors, young and old. The path is also part of the Crieff-to-Comrie designated Core Path (CRIF/113 and CRIF/51). However, years of neglect meant that, at the time the land came into community ownership, the path was in a very poor condition. It was badly eroded, prone to flooding, and completely inaccessible to wheelchair users, cyclists and prams.
In 2013 a volunteer group of local residents was established under the auspices of CCT to take forward the task of repairing the footpath. This group’s aspiration is to make the footpath more accessible to people with mobility problems and families with very young children. However, the remit of the group has also now expanded to include the development of the woodland as a community asset. This will involve consultation with the wider community in Crieff to explore how local people would like this land to be used.
What has happened so far?
In March 2015, CCT secured grant funding totalling £22,000 from SSE’s Sustainable Development Fund and Perth & Kinross Council’s Community Environment Challenge Fund for Phase 1 of the footpath project. This enabled the first section of Lady Mary’s Walk (from Turretbank Road, along the Turret Burn) to be refurbished. One short section of the path was also moved onto higher ground to protect the path from future flooding from the Turret Burn. This work was carried out in January and February 2016.
What about Phase 2?
Discussions with SEPA have indicated to us that it is unlikely we would be granted a licence to rebuild the very badly eroded path along the River Earn between the confluence of the Turret and the Sands. This path will continue to be available to fit walkers and will be accessible when the Earn is not in spate. However, if we wish to have a path from Taylor / Munghall Park which is accessible to everyone, then an alternative route will need to be identified. Phase 2 will involve further investigation and consultation with the community to try to identify the best, most feasible ‘link route’ from the end of the newly refurbished path through Turretbank Wood to the main Lady Mary’s path.
Are you keen to see the first section of Lady Mary’s Walk improved to the same standard as the main section of Lady Mary’s? Contact Dawn Griesbach to get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org
A quick summary of where we are now
- June 2017 – First annual Balsam Blitz in Turretbank Wood
- May 2017 – New welcome sign and bollard installed at the entrance to Turretbank Wood at Turret Bridge
- December 2016 – Acorn Dell is renamed Turretbank Wood, following a poll of CCT members and local residents
- 15 June 2016 – CCT takes over the ownership of Acorn Dell from Crieff Community Initiative
- June 2016 – CCT receives £1,500 from Paths for All to install a new welcome sign at the entrance to Acorn Dell
- 12 February 2016 – Acorn Dell to reopen to the public
- 25 Jan 2016 – Work begins on Phase 1 of Acorn Dell path repair.
- 21 May 2015 – CCT receives grants from SSE and PKC for Acorn Dell path repair