New public path planned to forgotten waterfall

A black and white Valantine's postcard, sent in 1955, showing the Benlister Falls in all their glory.

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A long forgotten Arran waterfall could become accessible to all once more.

Benlister Falls is a dramatic waterfall near Lamlash which has been inaccessible and hidden from view for the best part of 50 years.

Now a new path is being planned to allow the public access to falls by farmer and land owner Kenneth Bone within whose Glenkiln farmland it lies.

He wants to undertake the clearance and re-instatement of a sheep path which runs along the south side of Benlister Burn to allow walkers public access to the famous falls. The track would be 1.745km long and 1.8m wide and would help prevent visitors walking over open farmland with its associated problems.

The new path has already been given prior notification permission by North Ayrshire Council as it does not need full planning permission. However, it has still to receive final approval from NatureScot.

They are almost certain to put construction restrictions in place which would limit work to outwith the Hen Harrier breeding season as it is in an area of Special Scientific Interest.

As a result Mr Bone said that it would probably be a two-year project, which he would hope to start later this year.

‘We used to go up the falls as boys but they have been largely inaccessible for many years and it would be good for them to be seen in all their glory again.’

In granting approval the council planners stated: ‘The applicant advised that the path would divert people walking across the farmland to Benlister Falls away from grazing cattle and sheep on the hillside and help avoid any livestock attacks from dogs accompanying walkers. It would also allow better access for the shepherds when gathering in the flock to the farm.

‘Given the justification given by the applicant that the path improvements would prevent walkers’ interference with farm operations and livestock, as well as improving shepherds’ access, it is accepted that the track is for the purposes of agriculture within the farming unit.

‘It would essentially reinstate a former path and would not be readily visible from further afield and would not have any significant adverse effect on the wider rural landscape. NatureScot did not raise any concerns with regards to effects on nearby protected landscapes or habitats.

‘Taking all of the above into consideration, the siting and route of the development is therefore acceptable,’ the report concluded.



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