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).
First steps – the path through the wood
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 the path was in a very poor condition by the time the land came into community ownership. 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 was 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, alongside the Turret Burn) to be refurbished. The section of the path in the second meadow beyond where the former railway bridge crossed the Turret Burn was also moved onto higher ground to protect the path from future flooding from the river. This work was carried out in January and February 2016.
What is Phase 2? Linking Turretbank Wood with the rest of Lady Mary’s Walk.
Discussions with SEPA have indicated that it is unlikely that a licence would be granted to rebuild the very badly eroded path along the River Earn between its confluence of the Turret and the Sands. The existing path will continue to be available to fit walkers and will be accessible when the Earn is not in spate. However, to have an off road all abilities path from Taylor / Mungall Park alongside the Turret Burn linking through to the rest of Lady Mary’s Walk which is accessible to everyone, then an alternative route will need to be identified. Phase 2 so far has involved 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. Solutions have been identified and further consultation and discussions with interested parties are planned to progress Phase 2.
Are you keen to see Lady Mary’s Walk improved with the link from the first section of Lady Mary’s Walk brought up to the same standard as the main section of Lady Mary’s? Contact Jim Anderson to get involved: email@example.com
A quick summary of where we are now
- Work on the remaining 20 trees identified in the survey was completed, funded by money bequeathed anonymously to CCT.
- Informal Himalayan Balsam Blitz continued with significant support from Crieff Soroptimists working whilst socially distanced at Turretbank Wood
- Other projects on hold due to Covid 19 restrictions.
- Completed Tree Assessment and Woodland Management Strategy, funded by Foundation Scotland. Recommendations from tree survey carried out using local contractors, funded by money bequeathed to CCT to ‘enhance the outdoor environment within the Crieff area’.
- Year 3 of Balsam Blitz to eradicate Himalayan Balsam – 6 volunteer days arranged to pull out the invasive non-native species, including 45 school children as part of their Civics programme.
- December – Awarded £250 from Coop’s Community Donations Programme to install a bench at Turretbank Wood
- Grant of £1500 awarded by Foundation Scotland allowed CCT to commission a tree survey.
- First draft of Management Plan for Turretbank Wood prepared.
- Trees identified as requiring urgent attention, saplings growing on top of the pier to the old railway bridge and a fallen tree in the Turret Burn all removed
- Quotes obtained for tree survey of area
- Himalayan Balsam Blitz continued with a further 18, two hour sessions over 6 days
- June 2017 – Campaign to eradicate invasive species Himalayan Balsam from Turretbank Wood commenced – First annual Balsam Blitz in Turretbank Wood comprised 18, two hour sessions spread over 6 days
- 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 awarded grant of £1,500 from Paths for All to install a new welcome sign and access bollard at the entrance to Acorn Dell
- 12 February 2016 – Refurbished Acorn Dell path reopened to the public
- 25 Jan 2016 – Construction work begins on Phase 1 of Acorn Dell path repair.
- 21 May 2015 – CCT awarded grants from SSE and PKC and in partnership with Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust works to facilitate the refurbishment and repair of Acorn Dell path.