Upper Cormonachan Heritage Paths Project

Our plans for the future of Cormonachan Community Woodlands

2018 to 2023

4) Almost there…!

3) What we have achieved…!

”Upper Cormonachan Heritage Paths Project”

FANTASTIC NEWS to report…!
We are absolutely delighted to report that having been offered the full funding for the “Upper Cormonachan Heritage Paths Project” amounting to £253,146.00 for the construction and a further £32,306 for a 3-year part time Heritage Developer (£18,000 through Ardroy OEC) and the balance for training, promotion, etc. from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, NatureScot (Scottish Government’s Scottish Rural Development Programme, SRDP) through their Agri-Environmental Climate Scheme – Improving Public Access and local donations of £18,400 from Lochgoil Community Trust and our Members and Supporters the new 2 km Paths and South Car Park was opened on Saturday 1st July 2023 but the south car park is currently closed until we get payment from the Scottish Government for their £107K grant.
All Members of Cormonachan Community Woodlands Ltd. have been advised in Members Update No 51 dated 28th April 2022.
The first comments we have received back this week can be read here – Upper Cormonachan Heritage Paths Project Comments
With the original contractor, McGowan’s of Aviemore backing out of the project, for when it was due to commence on 1st September 2022, due to the cost of diesel increasing by 40% (red diesel being discontinued), CCW had to find another contractor willing to take on the original contract. The replacement contractor, BL Groundworks of Dunoon, commenced construction on 19th October 2022 with the aim of trying to complete the SRDP work by 31st December 2022 and completing the contract agreed with NLHF by 31st March 2023. Part of the problem with SRDP was that they wanted the entire project completed even though they were NOT funding it all! The new paths were to be formally opened by the CEO of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority on 30th June 2023 to invited guests who have help fund and support this major project. However, due to political reasons with the Scottish Government, the CEO had to back out attending at the last moment and the new paths and south car park were opened by Andy Rockall, Director of the Community Woodlands Association.
The “Upper Cormonachan Paths Project Fund” reached £18,400.00 on 23rd July 2021 from members and other donations. Cormonachan Community Woodlands Ltd has now raised more than the 5% of the construction costs that is £12,657.33 the minimum requirement to obtain the major funding. the paths construction cost of £253,146.66 inc. 20% VAT required major funding. We have received three funders grants agreements for the balance of £235,859.42 inc. 20% VAT in June (funding has been approved from three funders – National Lottery Heritage Fund for £160,173.00 on 28th May 2022 and £106,879.20 on 24th December 2021 from Agri -Environmental Climate Scheme – Improving Public Access through Scottish Rural Development Programme (NatureScot/SRDP) plus an additional £900.00 from Lochgoil Community Trust that’s included in the local raised amount of £18,400.00).
In addition to this funding, we also obtained grants for 6 Finger Posts for the new paths junctions, another People Counter and Donations Post from FCC Communities Foundation (£5,727.00) and new car park signs for the North and South car parks and an outside Fuel Cabinet from Scottish Forestry (£929.92).
”Upper Cormonachan Heritage Paths Project”
For the Conservation of Upper Cormonachan, the 16th century Medieval Settlement and access to view the beautiful Cormonachan Falls with 2 km of new access paths with 5 bridges and four viewpoints from the Contemplation Shelter by the existing 2.5 km of paths and joining up with the forest road to the west of the woodlands and a new South Car Park by Cormonachan Burn road bridge to commence from 19th October 2022 and be completed by 31st March 2023. Due to SRDP, not paying the agreed funding to CCW, we have had to go to Appeal with the Scottish Government. Consequently, with the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s approval and their payment of funds, the paths were initially opened to the public on 1st July 2023 but without the top whindust paths covering, that has been approved as a Stage 2, by National Park Planning, if necessary. The 5 bridges had been put on site but could not be inserted without the funding from SRDP as the whindust has to be laid for the bridges to be sited and temporary culverts removed. The contractor said that if he gets paid by SRDP then these final items can be completed within a month of agreement that the funding will be forthcoming. Due to heavy rain, the bottom of the new path at the south car park has been damaged where there is to be a bridge. The flood caused damage to the south car park which is closed until the Scottish Government agree to pay our charity the funding allocated.
For full project details, click on this link:-
or contact the Secretary, Cormonachan Community Woodlands Ltd at Secretary@cormonachan-woodlands.co.uk

2) What are we trying to achieve?

To extend our present 2.5 km network of paths by 2 km to reach the beautiful Cormonachan Falls and Medieval Settlement from our Contemplation Shelter adding another car park. These 63.9 ha (158 acres) of ancient semi-natural oak rain forest woodlands date back to the earliest map of 1590. We have already raised £125,279, half the cost of the paths construction, leaving £127,748 still to find. The project is shown below in detail with photos, plans and videos. Our project is supported by over 30 letters of support, including Ramblers Scotland, the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and Argyll & Bute Council.

We have so far had to pay out  £756 for planning fees and £400 for a Protected Species Survey. Felling 92 trees along the path and at the Settlement (paid for by Forestry and Land Scotland totalling £950) and we have paid £4,165.20 for an Archaeology Survey and £1,260 for an Interpretation Panel with the archaeology and history of the Upper Cormonachan Settlement, that funding has now been received for. These additional costs amount to £7,556.20 for which grants and donations have been funded separately. See National Park Planning Approval of Construction Costs – https://www.cormonachan-woodlands.co.uk/admin/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2019_0001_DET-Decision_notice_final-100336697.pdf– See full detailed costing link in 1) below.

Planning permission for the project was applied for on 4th January 2019 from the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park and was received on 11th July 2019 – see Planning Approval –  2019 0001 DET Decision Notice Final 100336697 and is supported by the Argyll & Bute’s MP, Brendan O’Hara and MSP, Michael RussellCowal Ward Councillor, Alan ReidLochgoil Community CouncilScottish Forestry by Management Plan & LeaseForestry and Land ScotlandLoch Lomond & The Trossachs National ParkArgyll & Bute Council Economic Development Dept.Lochgoil Community TrustLoch Lomond Community PartnershipFriends of Loch Lomond & TrossachsRamblers ScotlandCommunity Woodlands AssociationWoodland Trust ScotlandArgyll Small Woods CooperativePaths For All,  ACT – Argyll & the Isles Coast & Countryside TrustArgyll HolidaysRhumhor Holiday LodgeCarrick Castle EstateLodge On Loch GoilAOEC Trust Ardroy Outdoor Education CentreScouts Adventure CentreLochgoilhead Primary SchoolLoch Goil Kayak Hire & Carrick FarmLochgoilhead HolidaysLoch Goil TrailsTwo Walking Groups in LochgoilheadLochwood House GuesthouseThe Shore HouseRowan House Bed & Breakfast & Loch Goil Cruisers and Boat Shed Cafe.

The expansion of the paths network forms part of the Loch Goil Local Plans and that of the National Park’s plan:- Loch Goil Local Plan 2018-2023. Theme 1: Community – Priority 2: Continue to preserve and promote the heritage and culture of Lochgoil and Carrick Castle (Upper Cormonachan Settlement (old village); Priority 6: Promote healthy activity for young and old, including walking. Theme 2: Environment – Priority 3: 1) Maintain and extend the paths network; 2) Provide and maintain proper signage for paths; 3) Support the woodlands management plan for Cormonachan Woods; 4) Support local initiatives which provide access to the environment; 5) Continue to eradicate invasive Non-Native Species (Rhododendron ponticum); 6) Ensure that water quality and biodiversity both in Loch Goil and in the local rivers and streams continually improves (we are creating 5 bridges over burns for the paths in the woodlands to safeguard water supplies to local houses; 7) Support the development of a Land Management Forum in the area. Theme 3: Roads, Traffic and Transport – Priority 2: Promote the correct use of passing places and provide appropriate signage. Theme 4: Economic Development – Priority 1: Provide opportunities for training (we have provided training for local people in First Aid, Trimming, Chainsaws, Pesticide Spraying & ATV driving); Priority 2: Improve tourist facilities: 1) Encourage and support more outdoor leisure businesses (we are trying to create a new local tourist destination (opening up the waterfalls, old village, viewpoints and extended paths for walkers with another car park); 2) Provide information for tourists, including signage and interpretation; 3) Promote other heritage initiatives.


30 Letters of Support for the ‘Upper Cormonachan Heritage Paths Project’.

Member’s comments:
”This is wonderful news and I am very proud to belong to the Association. If I can be there on a volunteer day I shall certainly come along”. F.M.

”I spent a couple of hours on New Year’s morning walking the proposed path site with my trusty hound, we reversed the walk again two days later, she loves it too, quite steep in bits but wonderful views. It will surely be an asset to our community”. F.W.

”Thank you for what you are doing”. M.M. & J.E.

”Love the pictures of what is a magical woodland. Lots of rest areas with views, a touch of history with glimpses of the past and a lot of evidence of jolly hard work making Cormonachan accessible to all. Good luck with the next phase of development.” C.W.F.

”One of my most favourite places in the world” D.E.


 The Upper Cormonachan Project here was originally prepared  in 2007.

Archaeologist’s final drawing on 16th July 2020 of the Medieval Settlement layout.

The archaeologist’s report can be read by clicking on this link below:-

Proposed route of new paths from the Contemplation Shelter to Forest Road, Medieval Settlement, Cormonachan Falls and car park

Click on this link to view – Upper Cormonachan Car Park Plan

The car park would be the same size as the present car park.

Cormonachan Falls (shows scale of middle falls when not in spate)


View of Loch Goil from Upper Cormonachan                                   Cormonachan Falls can be a winter spectacular

Main Cormonachan Falls from south bank

Video of Cormonachan Falls from the Air!


Below is an extract from Discovery and Excavation Scotland 1957 – Upper Cormonachan

The Upper Cormonachan Medieval Settlement Interpretation Panel now set up for visitors to read.

Upper Cormonachan Paths Project’ Costs & Funding to date

2019 – 2020

Archaeological Investigation & Signage £5,425.20 – funded by grant from Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Heritage Fund £5,425.00
Planning Permission for new car park £352.00 – funded by Lochgoil Community Trust Fund £352.00
Planning Permission for 2 km Paths £404.00 – funded by Douglas Locke donation £404.00
Planning Permission Map £25.00 – funded by members subscriptions
Protected Species Survey £400.00 – funded by members donations
Felling of 92 trees along paths route and at Settlement £950.00 – funded by Forestry and Land Scotland

Total of funded costs £7,556.20.

2018 – 2019

1) Obtain quotations and design for the proposed 2 km of paths from Cormonachan Burn Bridge to Upper Cormonachan old village and the Waterfalls and the Contemplation Shelter in 8 sections including 5 bridges, 4 view points and a new car park.
(Final version achieved in July 2021)

Construction Costs –Final Quotation Path Construction & Upgrading Cormonachan Woodlands – contact the Secretary – Secretary@cormonachan-woodlands.co.uk

Total cost of paths and car park construction £210.955.55 + VAT at 20% = £253,146.66 – full breakdown in link above.