New national walking and cycling network announced

John Muir Way signage

For the first time, Scotland now has a high level commitment to develop a national walking and cycling network within the National Planning Framework which was published today. When fully developed, this network of long distance routes will enable people to exploit the opportunities on their doorsteps for walking and cycling, both for leisure purposes and for everyday trips.

In a joint statement with Sustrans Scotland and Scottish Canals, Dave Morris, Director of Ramblers Scotland said “Whether walking along a canal tow path, cycling on the National Cycle Network or hiking along one of Scotland’s Great Trails, these paths will give people across Scotland a real option for enjoying a more active lifestyle.”

This was echoed by John Lauder, National Director of Sustrans Scotland, who said that he hoped that the inclusion of this National Development would assist in the creation of fully joined up cycling and walking networks across Scotland, helping to overcome gaps and barriers in the existing networks, as well as planning issues.  John continued “Sustrans is committed to working in partnership to create a fully joined up National Cycle Network across the country.  

We look forward to working with all sectors of the Scottish Government, National Parks, Local Authorities and other partners in the planning and creation of such a network.  In addition, we're particularly pleased to see the Scottish Government stating that they have a vision for pedestrian and cyclist friendly settlements and neighbourhoods across Scotland, therefore make cycling and walking more attractive for everyday journeys.”

A section of the paths within this network are designated along canal towpaths, and Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals, also welcomed this development, saying “Cycling and walking are increasingly popular in Scotland, both as leisure activities and as commuting options.  Including them in a National Development will help to ensure a more strategic approach is taken to linking all parts of the country together seamlessly.  

At Scottish Canals we look forward to working with other organisations and public bodies at both a national and local level to ensure that Scotland’s canals play their part in this process.”