Sandwick is a rural community in the South Mainland of Shetland with a population of over 1000. It consists of numerous smaller settlements including Hoswick and Stove.
Hoswick is served by a single track road. It is changed in recent times from a generally aged population to one with many young families. With numerous new houses being built this is expected to continue.
Hoswick is also one of the main centres in Shetland for knitwear and has a traditional knitwear factory and a smaller contemporary knitwear outlet. It also has Sandwick’s only hotel and the Hoswick Visitor Centre. The centre has café facilities for both the tourists and locals. It is a major sales outlet for many of the craft producers in Shetland.
The route is used a few times a day by a service bus but during the tourist season the number of tour buses coming to Hoswick has increased dramatically. The number of cruise liners , over the last three years and projected for 2019, were increasing 30% year on year. Improvement to the road for pedestrian and cycling traffic was urgently required.
As a result traffic, especially during the tourist season, is increasing making the single track road difficult for pedestrian and cyclists to navigate in order to reach the village shop and post office, the school and swimming pool and numerous other facilities.
The project was to construct a cycle path which will tie into other paths and nature trails developed by GAETS . GAETS is a community environmental group of volunteers. Over the last 20 years GAETS has been involved with establishing a community garden, a network of paths, a small woodland, a fish jump, restoration of an old reservoir into a seating area with flowers amongst many other projects.
The land was donated. The length of the path is 200m and the total cost came to £70,000. Funding was received from SUSTRANS, LEADER, Pebble Trust, Tescos and GAETS.
This project has improved safety and encouraged more walking and cycling.
Supporting StatementPrior to the project commencing the public were consulted via a monkey survey. Letters of support were received from users of the single track road especially the Brownies and Guides who used the Hoswick Visitor Centre. and the school as many children used the road to get to and from the school and also the swimming pool.
The path has proved to be a great success. This has been even more so during the Covid shutdowns. People have needed to get out and the path networks and now the cycle / footpath has encouraged people especially families to venture out.
The scheme has been so successful other areas in Shetland are looking into doing similar schemes.