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Outdoor visitor centre with wooden and glass construction situated among grassy fields and trees

Four of our projects have been shortlisted for a Scottish Award for Quality in Planning.

Kirroughtree Visitor Centre, The Lodge, Glentress Masterplan and Nevis Forest Masterplan all made the shortlist for a 'People's Choice' Award which also forms part of the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning.  The award is part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

The awards are supported by the Scottish Government and the Festival of Architecture. This gives everyone a chance to get involved and express their ideas for whatever they consider to have been of great innovation, architecture and design in Scottish planning over the last 6 years.  The winner will be the project with the most votes.  You can vote for your favourite project. Here’s a bit more about each project.

Glentress Forest Park masterplan

Glentress Forest Park is both a working forest as well as a key attraction for tourism in the Scottish Borders. It is an internationally renowned centre for mountain biking and offers other activities for those that want to enjoy the landscape, walking, and those with an interest in wildlife and habitat conservation.

The Masterplan was developed to meet the need to enhance and manage the site as a multi-purpose recreation centre of excellence, alongside ongoing timber production. The Master planning process considered Glentress within the wider context of the Tweed Valley, in particular the opportunities to enhance the area as a tourist destination.

The preparation of the Masterplan required close working between Forest Enterprise Scotland, Barton Wilmore and Scottish Borders Council. From the outset the project team wanted an ambitious yet robust masterplan that was an exemplar of good planning practice, delivered through a process of focused public engagement.

Adult and two children in an interactive visitor centre learning about the workings of a forest

The Lodge

The Lodge lies in the heart of Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and is an iconic, historic B listed building which was donated to the Commission 55 years ago by the Carnegie Trust.

Following a major refurbishment, it is now a VisitScotland 5 star rate gateway for visitors to the park and a flagship centre for outdoor activities within the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

We took a team approach to developing and delivering the refurbishment which has transformed the building and its facilities to exceed contemporary visitor expectations.

Innovative design solutions were deployed by our landscape architects and interpretative team to improve the sense of arrival to the site, improve traffic flow and segregate visitors from deliveries and landscape enhancements. This was accompanied by new visitor facilities including natural play opportunities on an improved trail network including an easy access route and an ingenious use of trees to create a maze for children, an activity centre for groups, a new wildlife viewing hide where an encounter with red squirrels is a memorable moment and opportunities to view highland cattle conservation grazing.

The whole project was undertaken to ensure that the site continues to be managed in a sustainable manner, with wood fuel heating, a safe and visitor friendly environment which provides a first class welcome and experience for all of those who come to enjoy the National Forest Estate and the National Park.

lodge forest visitor centre

Nevis Forest Masterplan

Located in Leanachan Forest, the area around the Nevis Ski Range is a national focus for adventure sports, including skiing, climbing and mountain biking. It hosts large events including the Mountain Bike World Cup, which makes it one of the major tourist destinations in the Scottish Highlands.

The Masterplan creates a 20 year vision to direct future development and establish a platform of general support from the local community, business organisations and wider interest groups, in order to contribute to the future overall economy of the Lochaber area.

The project examines a number of development options, covering aspects from expanded facilities and environmental improvements at Nevis Ski Range to the provision of Accommodation Pods, a Bunkhouse and Camping Areas. It also promotes the integration of sustainable development into the surrounding forest in the form of an 80 bed Spa hotel and associated chalet development.

 cabins in woods concept image

Kirroughtree Visitor Centre

The new visitor centre at Kirroughtree brings together a number of strands that make it an excellent example of great design blending with the visitors requirement:

  • the angular roof pods gracefully blend in the landscape while acknowledging the rolling hills of Galloway;
  • the building has a lot of thermal efficiency with glass but has managed to be designed to complement the Dark Sky Park where no light can travel in to the night sky;
  • using green energy by using thermal ground heat pumps to effectively use stored heat and circulate it, keeps fuel costs down and reduces the need to use fossil fuels; and
  • equalities plays an important part of the design where the building can be reached by all abilities and the surrounding facilities have got accessibility in mind. The introduction of a ‘Changing Places facility’ means it is open to all.
kirroughtree cafe

The Glentress Masteplan and the Nevis Forest Materplan have not only been selected for a People Choice award but have been shortlisted for the following:

  • Glentress Masterplan - Partnership category Award
  • Nevis Forest Masterplan - Place Category Award

The next stage of the process is an interview with the judging panel before the final winners are announced in November.