A new underpass that transforms visitor access at RSPB Scotland Loch Leven has opened to the public.
The underpass provides a safe crossing point under the B9097, replacing an old tunnel that had steep steps at both ends. It is accessed by gently sloping paths that are suitable for wheelchair and mobility scooter users, cyclists, and families with pushchairs.
The new underpass will make it much easier for anyone with mobility issues to visit the lochside trails and hides at the reserve, but it also links up the Loch Leven Heritage Trail with the toilets and other facilities in the RSPB visitor centre.
The work was made possible due to support from the Scottish Government through the Sustrans Scotland Community Links programme, which donated 50 per cent of the costs.
Funding was also provided by Perth and Kinross Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, The Gannochy Trust, and many other organisations and individuals, as well as a crowdfunding campaign.
RSPB Scotland’s Uwe Stoneman said: “It’s taken years of planning and fundraising to make this new underpass a reality. The construction work took much longer than expected due to issues with a mains water pipe, but now everything is complete. It’s really very special to see it being used by visitors.
“The beautiful countryside at Loch Leven should be available for everyone to enjoy, but it’s easy to forget that simple things like stairs can create a huge barrier for some. Removing these barriers opens up a world of new experiences.
“We’re extremely grateful to everyone who’s been involved, and for the patience of those who may have been inconvenienced by the construction work. We’d also like to thank our funders, without whom, none of this would have been possible.”
An event to celebrate the opening of the underpass will take place in October along with an open day with lots of family friendly activities. More information will be available closer to the date at www.rspb.org.uk/lochleven.