Consultation on Bennachie
Heritage Consulting has been commissioned to carry out a review of the 'visitor
experience' at Bennachie and to establish a new Visitor experience Plan. This
involves looking at how the hill is used and what developments there might be
in the future. The following is NEMT's response:
NEMT welcomes the opportunity that this consultation brings. Bennachie is a
very popular hill and one enjoyed by many who do not venture into more remote
or challenging areas, including families with young children. Because of this,
those managing the hill have the difficult task of trying to balance many, potentially
conflicting, interests. First and foremost, Bennachie is a hill and an oasis
of wilder country amidst farm land. As such NEMT views it as an area to be explored
and enjoyed and not as a resource to be exploited for recreational or other
- NEMT would not want to see any infrastructure developments of any sort above
the tree line.
- The hill is well served by paths. NEMT would not want there to be further
path developments above the tree line beyond maintenance of those which were
upgraded a few years ago. In particular, NEMT does not think that there should
be any path work in the Watch Craig and Hermit Seat areas which should be
left for the more adventurous to explore.
- NEMT raised concerns about the need for the type of visually intrusive signage
which was erected a few years ago. In particular, an individual member of
NEMT raised the issue of the sign close to the summit of the Oxen Craig which
is visible on the skyline from as far away as the Mither Tap. He was advised
that consideration would be given to re-siting this. Unless this has been
done very recently, the sign is still in the same place. NEMT would welcome
it being moved to a more suitable location.
- The toilets at the Back of Bennachie car park are often closed and those
at the Rowan Tree car park close in winter. Given the popularity of the hill
with families, it would be helpful to have these toilets open all year.
- Mountain Bikes
- NEMT does not think that the paths on the higher reaches of the hill are
suitable for mountain bikes. The paths there are too narrow to permit easy
overtaking of walkers, especially families with young children. The Access
Code does not restrict cycling as such but its foundation is responsible behaviour
and it can be argued that cycling at speed downhill on paths which families
regularly use is irresponsible. Mountain bikers do, however, need to be catered
for and one solution might be to build dedicated and adventurous biking trails
within the woods and then discourage biking completely above the tree line.
- Current felling is inevitably leaving part of the hill looking like a building
site. We hope replanting is an option and can take place as soon as possible.
NEMT would like to see the area around Esson's Croft developed with native
planting, and not plantation conifers.
- Gordon Way
- This may be beyond this consultation but is included because a significant
section lies on Bennachie. a) Drainage is very poor after leaving the track
past Oxen Craig. b) The car park on B992 is in very poor condition. c) The
section west from Towmill needs considerable attention.
- Further involvement
- NEMT would like to be consulted on future developments.
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