Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve in Wester Ross closed to public on safety grounds over suspension bridge concerns as National Trust for Scotland confirms warning signs have been ignored by some visitors
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Conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland has closed its Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve site for safety reasons.
The suspension bridge at the Wester Ross site is currently closed as a precautionary measure, after a routine inspection indicated a potential issue that needs further inspection.
No public access is possible while this is under way.
However, staff from the charity report that signs and barriers preventing access have been removed and ignored.
As a result, to ensure people’s safety, the whole Corrieshalloch Gorge site has been closed.
General manager for the Highlands and Islands, Clea Warner said: “We know that people love this place and the views from the bridge and it is disappointing that it’s had to be closed. We need to put safety first and not only are we reminding all visitors to please heed the signs and stay off the bridge, but we have decided it is necessary to close the wider site for now.
“We’re investigating the issue and will release information on reopening plans as soon as possible.”
The charity has published advice for visitors on how to get the most from their visits to the countryside on their website https://www.nts.org.uk/stories/top-10-tips-for-visiting-our-countryside-places .
Designs to improve visitor facilities at the National Trust for Scotland Corrieshalloch site in Wester Ross, which welcomes more than 100,000 visitors per year, were submitted for planning approval with Highland Council in May this year.
The charity has created plans for sensitively-designed new visitor facilities at the gorge, to help with the safe and sustainable management of visitors to the National Nature Reserve, ensuring that Corrieshalloch’s built and natural heritage is well-cared for now and in the future.
This will include toilets, wi-fi, a blue loo for camper vans, improved parking facilities and paths, wayfinding and interpretation around the National Nature Reserve, enabling visitors to enjoy an enhanced experience.
With its beautiful location and impressive scenery, Corrieshalloch Gorge has seen an increase in visitor numbers since 2012, to more than 100,000 annually.
The £2.3 million project has secured £923,277 funding from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund. It’s part of a new almost £9 million Scottish programme of projects to invest in the Highlands and islands to provide more and better quality opportunities for visitors to enjoy natural and cultural heritage assets.
The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund is led by NatureScot is part funded through the European Development Fund.
The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund will encourage people to visit some of the more remote and rural areas and create and sustain jobs, businesses and services in local communities. The purpose of the fund is to promote and develop the outstanding natural and cultural heritage of the Highlands and Islands in a way that conserves and protects them.