widget/exchange-29
widget/exchange-30widget/exchange-33
widget/exchange-31

Environment / Hermaness path to be upgraded to cope with rising visitor numbers

Rural tourism infrastructure fund awards £300,000

The spectacular cliffs of Hermaness will become easier accessible once the new walkway has been constructed. Photo: Shetland News

SCOTTISH Natural Heritage (SNH) is planning to invest more than three quarters of a million pounds to upgrade visitor facilities at Britain’s most northerly national nature reserve at Hermaness in Unst.

The agency has just been awarded £300,000 from the Scottish Government’s rural tourism infrastructure fund (RTIF) towards the £800,000 project that will see the construction of an elevated board walk, the provision of toilets and a sheltered interpretation point.

Work is planned to get under way in October this year depending on whether all necessary funding is in place by then. SNH is also awaiting news on a funding application to the natural and cultural heritage fund.

Giving access to some of Scotland’s most spectacular gannet colonies as well as puffins and great skuas (bonxies), Hermaness have seen a steady rise in visitor numbers over recent years.

Jonathan Swale of the Lerwick SNH office said visitor numbers have gone up by 50 per cent over the last four years to 9,000 last summer.

offset-carousel/post-mobile/0

About ten years ago SNH installed a plastic board walk to the western edge of the nature reserve which has proved to be very successful.

However, due to erosion of the vulnerable peatland, the original path heading north was closed off a few years ago, preventing visitors from completing the traditional circular walk of the nature reserve.

Swale said the new walkway will take a slightly different route north to avoid red throated diver nesting sites, but once completed it will give people the chance to once again enjoy the circular walk.

The project, which is being undertaken in conjunction with Shetland Islands Council, will also see the construction of toilet facilities at the entrance to the nature reserve, new sheltered interpretation of the site as well as an upgrade to the car parking facilities.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

Swale said: “Hermaness is one of the most important tourist attractions on the island of Unst and visitor numbers to the site are increasing every year.”

Hermaness is one of 13 projects across Scotland benefiting from a share of over £2.8 million from the second round of the RTIF programme which is aimed at helping meet the demand of growing visitor numbers.

VisitScotland Shetland manager Steve Matheson said: “It is vital we support businesses and communities experiencing pinch points as we see the continued success of tourism across Shetland, as evidenced by our recent inclusion in Lonely Planet’s top 10 Best in Europe 2019 list.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 
widget/pd_widget-6widget/pd_widget-7widget/pd_widget-8widget/pd_widget-9

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.