Heritage project hailed as economic boost
A special project which will enhance access to one of the area’s best-loved parks has been hailed as a boost to the local economy.
The Semple Heritage Trail was officially launched earlier this month at an event attended by local dignitaries and pupils from nearby Lochwinnoch Primary.
The ambitious £880,000 project will see work at Castle Semple Country Park in Lochwinnoch to create ‘heritage destinations’ and conserve built and landscape features.
It will also improve biodiversity by creating wetland habitats and will see mobile cameras installed to allow the public to view the wildlife in the park.
The project – due to be completed by summer 2015 – will also create volunteer opportunities, as well as allowing up to 1,000 schoolchildren to take part in practical workshops.
Councillor Chris Gilmour, Chair of the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park Authority, said: “I was delighted to attend the launch of the Semple Trail Heritage Project.
“The lands at Castle Semple have a long history which will be brought to life by this project through conservation, interpretation and activity.
“We already welcome 350,000 visitors a year to the Castle Semple area.
“This project will deliver a better experience for those who already come and will hopefully entice many new visitors, with all the economic benefits that will bring.
“I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who has been involved in the delivery and funding of this hugely-worthwhile project.”
The Semple Trail Heritage Project is being delivered and part-funded by Renfrewshire Council, Clyde Muirshiel Park Authority and the South Renfrewshire Access Network Initiative group.
Funding has also been provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, Renfrewshire LEADER , the RSPB and the SRDP Rural Priorities Woodlands in and around Town challenge fund, administered by the Forestry Commission Scotland.
Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Congratulations to everyone involved in this project.
“With spring just around the corner, this fascinating and beautiful country park is now accessible to so many more people.
“The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to have been part of this and I would urge everyone to visit, explore and enjoy the wonderful natural heritage of the Castle Semple estate.”