BASTA have been working with Forestry and Land Scotland, Cairngorm National Park Authority, Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS) and professional trail builders on an exciting new project — to develop a community-led area of cycling trails in Inshriach forest, near to Feshiebridge. These are intended to offer a sustainable alternative to trails in more sensitive areas, and offer an accessible area for the local community to ride. Planning permission will be submitted to Highland Council before the end of 2023, with a view to begin work early in 2024. We'll be sharing more information when we have it, and in the meantime please get in touch with concerns or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be happy to chat in person on a dig day too! Below are a few FAQ's explaining the aims of the project and how it will fit with existing trails in Strathspey.
Site outline of proposed Feshiebridge trail development
Proposed new trail developments are shown in red.
1. What is the proposal?
It is a small-scale project to develop the existing trail network in the woods to the west of Feshiebridge. It is a community-led proposal by the Badenoch and Strathspey Trail Association (BASTA).
It aims to help meet the needs of the local cycling community away from sensitive areas for capercaillie by developing the trail network to enhance experiences for all users, including people wishing to enjoy the area on bike.
BASTA have developed the proposal in partnership with Forestry and Land Scotland, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland as part of the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project. The proposal is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
2. What sort of trails are proposed?
The proposed developments will remain in-keeping with the woods. As well as improving existing trails for all users, the proposal includes new sections of primarily blue graded singletrack trail between 250 and 400 metres long with moderate gradients that will be suitable for intermediate cyclists / mountain bikers.
3. How will the trails affect public access?
Access rights will still apply in their totality in the area. The experiences of all users have been carefully considered to ensure that no one is prevented or deterred from legitimately accessing the area, and the proposal is compliant with the advice set out in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
The proposed developments will improve existing trails for the benefit of all users and provide new trails designed with mountain biking in mind.
Once the trails have been developed, trail use and access points will be proactively monitored as part of an overall monitoring plan for the proposal.
4. At what stage is the proposal?
A consultation event for local residents was held in July in Kincraig, and a discussion followed with the Community Council. The community voiced support, no specific objections were made and the land manager (Forestry and Land Scotland) is supportive.
An environmental survey has been conducted, and it concluded that the proposed developments will have no negative impact on woodland features or protected species, providing that drey trees and wood ant nests continue to be protected.
An application for planning consent will be submitted by the end of the year, and a tender will be advertised for a contractor to develop the trails, subject to planning permission.
If planning consent is secured the trails will be developed by July 2024.
5. Who will manage and maintain the trails?
BASTA will manage and maintain the new sections of trail under an agreement with Forestry and Land Scotland.
6. Will there be car parking available?
As the proposal is primarily for the benefit of local residents and visitors staying in the immediate area, it is expected that most people will continue to access the trails by bike or on foot.
As is currently the case, the trails will be accessible from the Speyside Way and parking remains available at the Sculpture Trail, Moor of Feshie and Uath Lochans car parks.
Once the trails have been developed, car parking and access points will be proactively monitored as part of an overall monitoring plan for the proposal.
7. What will happen to other trails in Inshriach Forest?
This is a standalone proposal, and will not affect other trails in the wider area. In order to help reduce disturbance to capercaillie, we hope that the proposed Feshiebridge Trails will provide a compelling alternative to other nearby trails in areas of greater environmental sensitivity.