Footbridge over Don to be rebuilt

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A bridge for walkers and cyclists is to be rebuilt over the River Don thanks to a £120,000 grant from the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) and Scottish Government.

The Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust (COAT) will manage the work on Strathdon Bridge and improvements to the path leading to the recently renovated Lonach Hall.

It will create a safe route for the local community linking Bellabeg and Strathdon to the Lonach Hall and surrounding path networks, avoiding the A944.

CNPA Deputy Convener, Brian Wood, said: “The people of Strathdon told us during the consultation on core paths that they wanted the footbridge rebuilt and a better path to the recently renovated Lonach Hall. We’re delighted to be in a position to provide this funding to COAT to deliver the work and see their wish come true. The works will allow more people to use the path network on foot or bicycle whether they’re having fun out and about of just need to get to something or someone on the other side of the river.”

The wooden Strathdon bridge was built by the Candacraig Estate carpenter around 1900. It collapsed into the river in the 1970s during a massive flood.

Work to rebuild it is expected to start this Spring. COAT Manager, Dougie Baird, said: “COAT has been developing this project for two years now, with statutory permissions in place and detailed technical designs completed. The funding will allow us to push ahead with construction immediately and the bridge will be hugely significant to the access network of Strathdon, and to the wider Cairngorms National Park. The network the bridge enables will give visitors to the area more reasons to stop and spend a while here, and locals will get direct benefits from it through recreational use and providing routes for our very successful Walking to Health programme.”

Local MSP Dennis Robertson met with those involved in the project and members of the local community.

He said: “I am delighted that the funding from the Cairngorms National Park Authority and the Scottish Government means that the link across the river will be restored. Not only will it boost local tourism in Donside but it will also bring communities back together.”