Describe your project
The Muckhart Primary School is linked to the village of Muckhart by a path approximately 500 metres long. The footpath itself is in reasonable condition and is well used by the public and, in particular, provides an excellent route for school children between the village and the school, far away from traffic and parking issues. The path currently enjoys vegetation, trees and shrubs on either side but also offers significant scope for enrichment planting works which has the objective of enhancing the biodiversity all along the route. Whilst this project will carry out this enrichment, it will transform the path into a nature trail by also developing and installing stopping points along the way, with interpretation boards to highlight particular items of interest with further explanations, fixing nesting boxes, bat boxes and making space for, for example, hedgehog haunts.
How will your project benefit your local community?
This improvement is a major opportunity to create a nature trail for the many school children of today and tomorrow, with the primary objectives of increasing their environmental knowledge, and their respect for the environment, wildlife and natural places from their earliest age. It will also provide ideas, topics and materials for potentially numerous classroom activities, with the added attraction that it’ll all be available right on their doorstep. As with us all, speeding traffic and the desire for improved road safety is of great concern within the community. Improvements to this link path will encourage more people to make use of it, stay safe and, in so doing, also reduce traffic volume. This project is one element of a much wider programme of activities included in the Muckhart Community Plan which was developed through consultations and questionnaire and was published in 2017. Whilst it is just one element, it will represent an important contribution to Muckhart’s Vision for “a vibrant, active, sustainable and connected community, contributing to an area of outstanding natural beauty”.
Please give details of any support you have from your local community
The Muckhart Community Plan includes an Action to improve the attractiveness of the village by actively involving the community in preparing for an entry into the “Beautiful Scotland” competition. This new Nature Trail will last for very many years and will dovetail very nicely with the wider programmes included in the Community Plan. Following a community wide request, we have approximately 15 volunteers who have signed up for assisting the village’s “Beautiful Scotland” effort. A sub group will be formed from these volunteers to undertake the Nature Trail, together with as many school children (with parents as appropriate) as practical.
How big is your community? And how many people will benefit from your project?
Not easy to estimate but it should be everyone who uses the path, either as a member of the public, walkers on the core path Diamond Jubilee Way, which this path is part of, or in connection with attending the school as a pupil or parent, so say a total of 50 to 100 each day.
Tell us what you intend to spend the money on.
In year 1:- about 10 new trees and shrubs, half a dozen nest boxes for birds, an interpretation board and some signage of points of particular interest. A budget figure for this expenditure is £1250. In year 2:- about 5-10 new trees /shrubs, 5 secondary interpretation boards, 5 bat boxes, 2 picnic tables with benches. The budget for this expenditure is £1250. All remaining scope will be by voluntary work for which there will be no out of pocket expenses.
When and why was your project founded?
2017. It was included as a part of Muckhart’s future possible entry to the Beautiful Scotland competition. That remains the case but is now being treated as a separate and standalone project in its own right.