£588k funding boost for Pentland Hills Regional Park

Thursday June 24th 2021


Flotterstone car park in Pentland Hills Regional Park.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Additional car parking, entrance paths, cycle parking and toilet facilities are to be created in the Pentland Hills Regional Park after two separate funding bids to Visit Scotland were successful.

The tourism organisation announced today that the park had been successful in its bids for funding from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) with £421,520 being provided towards the costs of the two projects. The fund was created by the Scottish Government in 2018 and is managed by Visit Scotland on their behalf.

The funding will see an extra 140 car parking spaces created, including more for blue badge holders, and electric vehicle charging points installed in the four main car parks at Harlaw, Threipmuir, Bonaly and Flotterstone. Cyclists will also benefit with additional bike stands and public bike pump and repair stations.

Three new unisex and accessible toilet facilities will be built at Bonaly, Threipmuir and Harlaw car parks and an extra set of toilets near Harlaw reservoir. Work on both the parking and toilet facilities is expected to be completed by April 2022.

Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT) are currently working on a visitor plan to identify what car parking and path improvements can be made to help make access to the park more sustainable. The work will also involve looking at what facilities could be provided including an eco-campsite and public conveniences to help manage the increase in use of the park.

Todays’ announcement has been welcomed by the Convener of the City of Edinburgh Council’s Pentland Hills Regional Park Joint Committee, Councillor Neil Gardiner.

He said: “This funding boost is great news for the hundreds of thousands of visitors who flock to the park every year. Many of them travel by car and with visitor numbers increasing every year it’s been putting increased pressure on the limited parking facilities available. I’m sure everyone will be delighted to hear we’re going to put in an extra 140 spaces, especially local residents affected by vehicles being parked outside their homes. Cyclists will benefit too as we’re increasing the number of bike stands and bike pump and repair stations in the arrival car parks as well. There will also be welcome improvements to the approach pathways.

“In addition to the 12 temporary toilets installed for this summer following another successful funding bid with NatureScot, through the Better Places Green Recovery Fund, we currently have only two permanent public toilets for park visitors which is not enough considering how many people visit the park. Building these four new unisex and accessible toilet facilities is really welcome and much-needed. Lastly thanks must go to our hard-working Pentland Hills Regional Park team and also our partners including ELGT who helped put together such strong bids to get this funding.”

Charlie Cumming, Chief Executive, Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust said: “We were delighted to receive funding from the NatureScot Better Places Green Recovery fund to develop sustainable solutions to address some of the issues that have arisen over the last year in the Pentland Hills Regional Park. ELGT look forward to working with the different stakeholders to contribute towards enabling the Regional Park to be more accessible and a great place for locals and visitors now and in the future.”

The Pentland Hills Regional park was also successful in three further bids through NatureScot, securing:

– £63,992 for the addition of six seasonal park rangers in the Pentland Hills between July and October.
– £72,720 for the provision of temporary toilets at the four hot spots in Pentland Hills between June and October 2021.
– £29,995 for the provision of four Estate workers and 1 supervisor to deliver rapid response and maintenance work at visitor hot spots in Pentland Hills and Edinburgh city parks between July and October.

The Pentland Hills Regional Park covers approximately 10,000 hectares of land and straddles the local authority boundaries of the City of Edinburgh Council, Midlothian Council and West Lothian Council. The City of Edinburgh Council is the managing authority of the Pentland Hills Regional Park under the terms of a Minute of Agreement between the three local authorities.

Outdoor recreation has grown in popularity year on year, and with Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh on the doorstep, along with growing urban settlements in Midlothian and West Lothian, the Pentlands have become an important outdoor resource for residents and visitors to the region.

The Regional Park is used for a variety of recreational activities including hillwalking, dog walking, mountain biking, angling, horse riding, orienteering, camping and wild swimming. There is also a golf course and an artificial ski slope within the park boundary.

Visitors to the Pentlands can access information on routes on the Pentland Hills Regional Parks website or popular websites including Walk HighlandsVisit Scotland, and Scotland Starts Here.

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