At Luss Estates we are proud of our record of innovation in diversified commercial projects that deliver additional income streams from land-based activities, but we are also conscious of our responsibility to tread lightly, operating, as we do, within a national park. So it is with great pride that we launched the Loch Lomond Faerie Trail in March 2018, utilising an existing public footpath in the woods around the village of Luss.
The footpath was in need of significant investment and Luss Estates undertook to install a woodland faerie trail directed at children to deliver enough income to comfortably update and upgrade the walking trail. The faerie houses, doors and additional elements were designed and built using locally sourced wood from Glen Luss and slate from an abandoned quarry, ensuring that the footprint of any work was as minimal as possible. The intention of the faerie trail is to encourage families outside to engage with nature, and to use their imagination, so it was important for the design to be sympathetic to the natural surroundings. The trail guidebook incorporates elements of Scottish mythology as well as educational messages about nature and is designed to be both fun and informative and to inspire a love of nature in the minds of our young visitors.
The trail has been a monumental success: in 2018 we welcomed 22,000 visitors (March to December), and in 2019 we expect to host in excess of 40,000 visitors. Income generated in 2018 has gone into vital upgrades to the path network, and has provided enough to extend the path further into the woods and open access into Glen Luss even further. Seasonal trails were developed for Halloween and Christmas encouraging visitors to return several times through the year and helping to extend the income stream beyond a summer-season business.
The trail is open to the general public; local walkers are benefiting from a much-improved experience and do not feel marginalised by the addition of the faerie trail; moreover, we have enjoyed record numbers of families making the most of Luss village - which has had a transformational impact on local businesses.