Longside farm opens gate for public access
Mackintosh Farms of Mains of Buthlaw, Longside has opened up once inaccessible farm land to create a public footpath network.
Linking the Formartine & Buchan Way, the path network stretches 9km/5.5miles, which is the largest path of its kind to be opened in Scotland.
The Buthlaw River Ugie & Faichfield Burn Path Network can be accessed from a public car park, east of Monyruie Farm off A950 at flushing junction or from access points along the Formartine & Buchan Way.
The path gives member of the public a chance to enjoy the natural environment of the local area as well as take a glimpse at wildlife habitats. The network is a haven for birds, animals and nsects.
Herons are seen fishing daily in either water course, and otters have been spotted on the path as well as many roe deer.
As well as encouraging the public to take an interest in the wildlife environment, Mackintosh Farms is encouraging people to engage in the farming practices done throughout the land surrounding the path network.
Mackintosh Farms is an arable enterprise which grows a variety of crops which can be seen on the network, which follows the farm boundary. Crops include; grass to make Hay and haylage for Ugie Valley Feeds, barley for malting, oil seed rape for Mackintosh of Glendaveny cold pressed Rape Seed Oil, wheat for animal feed, rye for the local anaerobic digester, and potatoes and carrots are often grown for local producers.
The new path network stretches over 9km/5.5miles so is ideal for walkers, runners, cyclists, horse riders and is wheelchair and pram friendly. The path is fully enclosed and fenced to ensure safety for all users and is made of naturally derived quarry dust chip, which is ground stone and creates a durable, soft and clean surface for all activities.
The path network has an access point from Willowbank day service, which cares for adults with learning disabilities, mental health difficulties and physical disabilities. They are well known for walking on the busy public road but the path network now allows them to get daily exercise without extra
dangers of traffic.
The Mackintosh family were recently recorded for BBC Scotland’s ‘Out of Doors’ programme, discussing the new path network with presenter Euan Mcilwraith. The programme aired on Saturday, February 15 and can still be listened to through the ‘Out of Doors’ podcast on BBC Sounds.
The Improving Public Access scheme, administered by Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Government, funds paths in rural Scotland in order to create links and access for a wide range of users. The scheme has been very popular and has seen construction of over 100 miles of new or
improved paths in the countryside since 2016.
Aberdeenshire has benefited in particular, with around £2.5million pounds allocated to projects here over the past four years.
SNH paths officer Annabel Drysdale said: "I’m so pleased that Improving Public Access has been very well received and now there are more enjoyable, safe routes away from traffic in the countryside for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The path at Buthlaw is a great example of a route that can be
enjoyed by many different people at their own pace."