The council have agreed to a new Recreation Plan, which will replace the Core Paths Plan and could see more walking routes formally recognised in East Ayrshire in the future.

Routes will be put into one of six categories: Great Trails; Core Paths; Local Paths; Hill Paths; Water Recreation; and Recreation/Tourism Sites.

A webpage is also in the works, which will include details of the paths to better enable access and give a boost to local tourism.

The webpage will be launched in the Autumn, East Ayrshire Leisure hope before November, in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021.

Councillors agreed to the new Recreation Plan on Wednesday, June 2 at a council cabinet meeting.

As well as the potential addition of new paths, there is to be a path warden scheme, which will see local volunteers assigned to look after each of the routes. Volunteers will be provided with training and tools.

Community consultation on the plans ran throughout February, March, and April earlier this year and several points raised by the consultation have found their way into the plan.

Amongst the 61 representations returned from the consultation a recurring theme was addition of new paths. Signage and tourist information also feature heavily.

Anneke Freel, the chief officer of East Ayrshire Leisure, said that whilst they were keen to add new paths, the initial focus would be on ensuring the plan contained paths that were ready for use.

She said: ”What we’d like to do is have this plan useable so that it’s safe routes for visitors and the community to use and have confidence to use, so we’re not proposing to include any routes that don’t exist at the moment or which have significant barriers, however it is a three year review period for this plan and that’s deliberate... We want to make sure there’s always opportunities for new routes to be included going forward.

She said they’d keep the routes suggested in their portfolio and will work to help communities establish those routes if they so wish.