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Work is underway to transform the popular Jookers Johnnie pedestrian route in Lanark.
The innovative access improvement project in the heart of South Lanarkshire will help to increase active travel opportunities for local people and bring benefits to the local environment.
The historic Jookers Johnnie pedestrian route and short-cut, linking Lanark town centre, the Clyde Walkway and Castlebank Park, is being upgraded by the Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGNT) in partnership with South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) and the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP).
The project, which is due for completion in the spring, forms part of the wider Clyde Walkway Community Links path network initiative, designed to enhance footpath linkages between settlements in the Clyde Valley and develop local links with the Clyde Walkway - the main long distance route running through the area.
Jookers Johnnie is one of the key routes linking the Clyde Walkway to Lanark train station and is regularly used by local residents as a short-cut, however it is currently in poor condition and is badly eroded in places with encroaching vegetation and relies on local knowledge of its existence.
The path leads towards the A73 to St. Patrick’s Lane and then on to the Clyde Walkway and the upgrade seeks to improve the condition of the route and to provide signage to increase awareness and encourage wider use of this valuable resource.
The improvement works will include new sign-posting and waymarking throughout the town, clearance of encroaching vegetation and dead trees and provision of 333 metres of path resurfacing. It will also incorporate installation of interpretation and information at the train station and tourist information centre. The upgrade will breathe new life into the area for the benefit of the local community and aims to contribute to lowering carbon emissions by encouraging people to walk or cycle rather than taking the car.
CSGNT’s mission is to drive forward the delivery of Europe’s largest greenspace initiative, the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) and Simon Rennie, Chief Executive of CSGNT explained the importance of projects such as the Jookers Johnnie upgrade.
He said: “This is an innovative access improvement project and part of the wider Central Scotland Green Network programme, which supports environmental enhancements on the ground across the central belt of Scotland to create a high quality green network for people to live in and enjoy.”
South Lanarkshire Council’s Head of Facilities, Waste and Grounds Services, Alistair McKinnon, said: “Upgrading the Jookers Johnnie path in Lanark and associated signage improvements are designed to make the route more accessible for both residents and visitors.
“The path links the town centre to the Clyde Walkway long distance route (one of ‘Scotland’s Great Trails’) at Castlebank Park.
“The works are being managed on behalf of the council by the Central Scotland Green Network Trust with funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) and the Air Quality Fund.
“The council are keen to encourage people to become more active by walking and cycling, both to improve their health and improve air quality by reducing the use of motor vehicles for short journeys.”
Donna Marshall, CAVLP Programme Manager, added: “We’re delighted that the much-needed access work is being carried out at Jookers Johnnie.
“It follows the upgrade of five Clyde Walkway Community Links routes in 2016, which link the communities of Ashgill, Braidwood, Crossford, Dalserf, Larkhall, Law, Nemphlar and Rosebank with one of ‘Scotland’s Great Trails’ - the Clyde Walkway.”
The project is funded by SLC through the Scottish Government’s Air Quality Action Plan grant and by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership.
The route will be closed until 10th March while works take place and CSGNT apologises for any inconvenience caused to local residents.