Tarves volunteers clear the way for path project

Drove road to become walking route thanks to heritage cash

Tarves residents of all ages have pitched in to help restore an ancient road from the village and create a route for local walkers for generations to come. Young and old helpers stepped into the past this week as they hacked a way through thick undergrowth to reopen part of the Old Aberdeen Road.

Tarves Heritage Project has received funding of £4,500 to help restore the overgrown track, which leads from the Aberdeen Arms Hotel in the village square to Pitmedden, five miles away. Members of the project’s path group have uncovered sections of ancient cobbled surface on what was originally a drove road once used for taking livestock to market in Aberdeen. Drovers would also have used it to join in the annual St Bartol’s – or St Bartholomew’s – Fair held in the area to sell cattle, horses and sheep.

The track – which became an early turnpike, or toll road, from Aberdeen in the days of horse-drawn stagecoaches – was used later as a popular walking route but parts of it became boggy and impassable for most of the year.

Grants from Aberdeenshire Council and Scottish Natural Heritage, as well as help from local landowners including Haddo Estate, will allow a contractor to move in to carry out a week-long reinstatement of the route later this month.

Path group spokesman Chris York, of Old Aberdeen Road, said: “A lot of people used the road but over the years its condition gradually got worse and worse, and latterly only diehard dog-walkers have used it. “Hopefully, that is soon going to change thanks to the hard work of volunteers and the funding we have been given.” Volunteers have cut back gorse bushes and undergrowth along a half-mile stretch of the ancient road, which winds over a hill to give sweeping views of the rural area and the ruins of Tolquhon Castle. This will give access for heavy machinery to complete drainage and restoration work by the end of this month.

Tarves Heritage Project was launched in 1995 to help safeguard the community, much is which is a conservation area, and nine years later opened a visitor centre museum in the former village-centre school. The volunteer group holds regular meetings with guest speakers. These are open to the public.

More information is available online at www.tarvesheritage.org.uk

Read more: http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/2126549#ixzz1DNJhe63s
By Alistair Beaton – Published: 08/02/2011