Whether it’s water sports, wildlife or wellbeing, Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park is proving a huge hit, with increasing numbers flocking to the Park in recent years.
The Regional Park was first established in 1967 and spans 265 square kilometres across Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and North Ayrshire.
Around one million people visit the regional park each year to enjoy the outdoor offer.
This includes countryside and coastal walks, cycling adventures, outdoor education, café visits and family day trips as well as sailing, kayaking, canoeing, rowing and paddle boarding on Castle Semple Loch in Lochwinnoch.
Each local authority is responsible for the area of Park in its geography and Renfrewshire Council has published a detailed plan on short-term infrastructure improvements and longer-term opportunities for investment at its Castle Semple and Muirshiel Country Park facilities.
More than 700 people helped shape the Strategic Tourism Infrastructure Development Plan, which was funded by VisitScotland.
New toilet facilities, bike storage and cycle route improvements at Castle Semple are among the immediate priorities being taken forward, with a plan to bid for external funding in early 2024.
There’s also a focus on upgrading the trails and nature lookouts as well as cycling and pedestrian safety and new wayfinding signage.
Longer-term, it is hoped to attract more external funding for a refurbished Castle Semple Visitor Centre expanding the food and drink offer and upgrading the facilities for outdoor activities, alongside refurbishments at the nearby Muirshiel Country Park visitor centre.
Councillor Andy Steel, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Regeneration Policy Board said: “Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park is an absolutely fantastic attraction with so much to offer visitors and Renfrewshire residents alike.
“We’ve been promoting the Regional Park as a popular destination and now we want to use this blueprint to secure investment in improvements big and small which will ensure everyone visiting has a first-class experience.
“I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts on what they enjoy about Clyde Muirshiel and how we can make it even better. We’re now taking forward the immediate priorities, looking at how we can secure funding to make them a reality.”
Photo: Renfrewshire Councillor Andy Steel at Castle Semple Visitor Centre
Castle Semple Visitor Centre is located close to Lochwinnoch Train station and is open throughout the year, providing easy access to walks and wildlife, coffees and cakes as well as a Countryside Ranger led environmental education and events programme.
A long-term vision for its visitor facilities is being developed to support future funding opportunities and ensure it retains notable designations as a Royal Yachting Association Sailability Centre of Excellence and a Scottish Cycling Disability Hub.
Park Co-ordinator Fiona Carswell said: “I’ve worked at Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park for more than 20 years and I forget how lucky I am to have such an attractive workplace.
“Our visitor numbers, especially during the pandemic, highlight the Park’s popularity and the essential role parks and open spaces play in our daily lives, being key assets for the health and wellbeing of people and the planet.
“I am delighted these new plans will enable us to focus on attracting funding and making improvements which enhance the offer in the future.”
Find out more about what Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park has to offer including completing a cycling micro-adventure by visiting: www.clydemuirshiel.co.uk.