What Next?

We are currently looking for anyone who would like to input into its future design and / or maintenance.

Since 2019, we have been working with Tangleha Artists Collective (a not-for-profit community based co-operative) to develop and maintain a walking route joining Johnshaven with St Cyrus along our diverse coastline.

The route of the coastal trail has over the past centuries been a main highway and road connecting the communities of the south Mearns coastal area. Indeed, evidence of human habitation has been found in this area from the Bronze Age. Prior to the last ice age (12,000 years ago) the Tangleha to Johnshaven stretch of the coast was under the sea.

Following years of erosion and minimal investment, the road became impassable by the mid 1980’s. A walking route remained, constantly eroding from surface water runoff and coastal erosion, with no maintenance being carried out.

In 2017 a group of local people decided to sketch out a plan for the path’s restoration, under the name MerCaT (Mearns Coastal Trail). They carried out a survey of the route and conducted a community consultation in 2018. In 2019 the first funding grant was obtained from the Tullo and Twinshiels Wind Farms Community Fund. This allowed for the rebuilding of the path at one of the most eroded sections to the south of Cove Hill. MerCaT then joined forces with the Tangleha Artists Collective: and along with it a new name, the Mearns Coastal Heritage Trail (MERCHAT), to reflect the many heritage sites along the route.

Since then, we have successfully obtained funding for several path improvements, rebuilding the completely eroded path around the Tangleha Bay in 2020, reinforcing sea defences and path rebuilding at the Red Rocks and similarly at Seagreens, both in 2021. Tools for path maintenance, a storage container, benches, storyboards and public liability insurance have also been acquired. Hundreds of trees have also been donated and planted by volunteers along the route.

We have now received funding from the Lottery Community Fund to compile an Action Plan. We will conduct surveys and produce a Report with the aim of bringing together all relevant stakeholders in determining the future for our Coastal Trail. The Action Plan will set out our goals, objectives, path implementation and maintenance requirements. The funding also includes provision for informative maps, a hydrology and erosion report, advice from geological and structural engineers, and delivery of this website to display all of the information as it becomes available.

A report commissioned by Aberdeenshire Council in 2016 advised abandoning the coastal path here and building a new path along the edge of the A92 and then on the old railway line where possible. That solution would deprive walkers of contact with the sea and the natural beauty of the prettiest and most diverse coastline in the Mearns. Public opinion is that a Coastal Path should stick as closely to the coast as possible. People in our coastal communities want to continue to use the existing route, rather than to walk over a kilometre inland to join an alternative new route.

Would you be willing to join us to help us achieve our aims?

Join Us!

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