Accessible and Sustainable

7 years ago Articles

Paul Thompson, Ranger at Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve writes about the history surrounding the NNR.

The NTS cares for over 75000ha of countryside, large proportions of which lie in national parks, nature reserves and scenic areas. Our countryside properties are a treasured part of our nation’s heritage and an attraction for visitors from around the world. How to allow people to experience without exhausting this precious resource is a topic of ongoing debate both within the Trust and without.

With over 80 years since its formation, the Trust has considerable experience of managing wild land, what will follow in this post and the next is a review of those methods with regard to the work at Ben Lawers.

The re-design of the Ben Lawers car park and visitor interpretation facilities recently received commendation for its sensitivity to the landscape in which it is situated. This regard for both landscape and sustainability underpins the Trust’s methods in managing access to its countryside properties. Welcoming visitors and informing them of the work that we do is a key part of encouraging people to respect the countryside that we all enjoy using.

The decision to demolish a building is not one taken lightly. The Mountain Visitors Centre that stood on the lower slopes of Beinn Ghlas for 40 years was always controversial. When the time came to replace it the pros and cons were carefully considered. On the positive side, the visitors centre provided an opportunity to educate visitors about the work being done on the reserve and its unusual design made it a feature in of itself. However it was decided that the landscape impact of the centre detracted from the wildness of the setting and that, given the majority of visitors to Ben Lawers come to walk amongst mountain scenery, a less intrusive, lower-key interpretation facility would complement the site better.

To finish reading Paul’s blog visit the Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve website.

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