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Ardoch Estate Footpaths

Response to enquiry re:closure of Ardoch Estate Footpath adjacent to Roman Fort Entrance.

From: Blackford Estates
Subject: Ardoch Estate Footpath Entrance.

Thank you for your note of enquiry.
This seems to be a very long on going saga which I have to say brings me no pleasure. Back in 2013 Francis Berry, then working for PKC core path access group agreed that the core path should be moved, as it was, to the inside of the roman fort. The reasons then are the same as the reasons are now in that Ardoch is very private, with it`s own curtailage that no one adheres too, it also has a pond which is potentially dangerous and this summer alone we have had several problems with children playing in there and taking the boats. These boats have now had to be removed so preventing work being done. The area is also a rearing area and as you will know, the centre of the shooting operations, which brings its own dangers. Indeed,we have also had an incident this spring where a couple out walking strayed into danger where the keeper was working. Fortunately he saw them. The reason the map in the village has not been altered for the benefit of walkers etc is, in Jane Pritchards words," because there has not been a core path review", though the reality is that the legislation is there for a local authority to alter such items as and when required.
So, currently we have one core path signed around the fort by Francis Berry, and a map showing one that is no longer signed and not supposed to be accessible. I take on board your comment about access to the fort for push chairs or the less mobile, and I mentioned this subject with Jane Pritchard when we had a meeting on site last summer, but it has not been taken up as yet. I am sure between us it would not be too difficult a job to find a solution to improving the access. Just touching on the fort area, you will probably be aware that I no longer put livestock in that field as it has become so busy the sheep never settled, but that is fine as both locals and visitors can make good use of it.

I mentioned earlier that this brings me no pleasure and that is because I have always been keen to encourage safe access to the countryside, but I do repeatedly emphasis safe. I originally sat on various local committees in the borders where I come from, dealing with the original legislation regarding access, and so I continue where possible, but the continued negativity caused by this one small area sets the owners of the estate against other more proactive ideas. I did push hard, with others, to help get the deadlock at the cemetery sorted and it is tremendous to see what has now been done there. Likewise when the trees were planted beside Greenloaning the rides were set so that people could get as much access as possible when walking in there. And I am sure there are other possible suggestions that are worth looking at so if you wished, I am quite happy to meet with you and your members to look at access on going.

Nigel
Nigel Murray,
General Manager. Highland Wagyu(Blackford Estates),Burnside of Balhaldie,Dunblane. FK15 0NB.

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