Laich of Moray Active Travel Routes (LoMATR), and Lossiemouth Community Development Trust (LCDT), would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who took part in our recent public consultation on plans for an active travel route between Lossiemouth and Hopeman.

It was an excellent response to the proposed plans to develop a safe route to walk, cycle, and wheel between Lossiemouth and Hopeman, offering improved accessibility to Lossiemouth for the smaller communities to the west of the town, aiming to decrease dependency on vehicles for these short journeys. We were delighted to receive lots of responses, with the majority in favour of the plans.

There was some disappointment that the route is to be split into two parts, with a path from Lossiemouth to Covesea the first priority for LoMATR. This will make the project more manageable for the group, allowing priority to be given to tackling the part of the B9040 road which is currently least safe for active travel, due to the poor sightlines on the bends as you approach Lossiemouth. This section is also the section likely to be most utilised after completion, due to its proximity to attractions such as Silver Sands Caravan Park, Covesea Lighthouse, and TwentyNineteen cafe, none of which are currently served by any footway, cycleway, or public transport option.

Sustrans, who have funded the feasibility and design process so far, support the initial plans for the route between Lossiemouth and Covesea as it provides a safe route for active travel for many journeys, including for people commuting from Covesea and Lossiemouth; and allowing people from Covesea, Gordonstoun and Silver Sands to access their local amenities, including supermarket, pharmacy, and health centre, by walking, cycling, or wheeling.

Completion of this first section will not just improve journeys between Covesea and Lossiemouth, however, as from the Covesea Road junction, onward travel to Hopeman is possible for many, in the interim, via the Moray Coastal Trail, or by following the Green Road core path to Duffus, and connecting up to the existing active travel route towards Burghead. Unfortunately, neither of these options are suitable for those on skinnier tyres, or adaptive bicycles; or for those in wheelchairs, or pushing prams, so LoMATR aim to persevere with the second section, onwards to Duffus, following the northern boundary of Gordonstoun, to continue to improve accessibility and connectivity between the towns.

Various options for a path between Covesea Road and Lossiemouth have been considered and agreement has been reached with some, but not yet all, relevant landowners. Negotiations are ongoing and as soon as agreement has been reached, the focus for LoMATR will be to raise the money required for detailed design and construction for this section. The section between Covesea Road and Duffus will be built as soon as agreement can be reached with landowners, and funds raised to build the path. 

Building an active travel route to Sustrans’ standard between Lossiemouth and Hopeman is likely to cost in excess of  £1M, however, LoMATR would have to raise only around 30% of the overall figure with the  balance provided from Scottish Government funds which exist to encourage active travel for its health benefits, and to reduce vehicle dependency for short journeys, which in turn decreases carbon emissions and improves air quality.