A north-east volunteer group has published a colourful and informative leaflet to encourage people to explore their local countryside and stay active.
The Lumphanan Paths Group has spent the months in lockdown putting together a useful guide to the most interesting walks around the Aberdeenshire village.
The leaflet, which has been sponsored by the Scottish charities Paths For All and Scotsways, provides a carefully marked map to the most attractive places in the area.
As well as highlighting the best routes in the woodland, the group has also included information on the wild life, plants and flowers people can come across along the way.
The aim of the seven volunteers is to promote the rich heritage and history of Mid-Deeside, by making the countryside appealing and accessible for people of all ages.
Lumphanan Paths Group chairwoman, Linda Gray, said this could be very positive and beneficial for the local community.
She said: “It’s a way to encourage people to re-discover the beautiful countryside that’s right on their doorstep, which perhaps they were unaware before.
“Being in lockdown has made people focus on their local area and helped them realise that there are so many things out there that might seem too simple at first, but they are actually so special.
“We’ve got amazing scenery and going out for a walk can really give you a boost and bring you so much positivity.
“These favourite walks are carefully described and clearly marked on the map in the central section of the leaflet.
“Walkers will also find helpful way-marking posts, which have been erected along the routes to guide them.”
Building a community network
The group was established in 2018 and has since become a vital part of the local community.
Mrs Gray and the rest of the volunteers dedicate most of their time to improve the walking area around the village and discover new routes to connect Lumhanan with other nearby towns.
The paths have recently been cleared and upgraded with new signposts, so people can find the best way around the woodland.
Eight benches, which were donated to the village by a local green grocer in 1949 have also been refurbished and placed at different locations along the walk.
It’s part of the group’s masterplan to create a network between all of the villages in Deeside, Tarland and Aboyne by upgrading existing routes and re-opening new ones.
Lumphanan Paths Group secretary Ann Raeburn added: “Our next objective is to expand our work as much as we can.
“There are so many paths that we plan to re-open and we can’t wait for things to go back to normal, so we can recruit more volunteers and get back to work.
“It’s a really positive things for us and for anybody who is enjoying the walks.
“It’s not only helping people stay active while doing something good for the community and for our amazing countryside, but also opening their eyes for the rich heritage and history our village has.”
The leaflets can be picked up free of charge at Lumphanan Village Store, Kincardine O’Neil Post Office, the Deeside Activity Park, as well as from shops in Tarland and Aboyne.
People can also download the e-version of the guide from the group’s website.