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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.


Trust in the Park: A nudge towards reducing our carbon footprint

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Countryside Trust or Trust in the Park as they are most well-known by, are an environmental and wellbeing charity working in the National Park. Jim Riach, their Active Travel Officer shares how their work is implementing and helping to reduce the carbon footprint for those who live and work in, visit and get around Scotland’s first National Park. 

Encouraging active travel by cycling, walking, and wheeling has been a core element of our business over the last few years. The private transport sector is the biggest contributor to our carbon footprint in Scotland so anything that reduces the number of car journeys makes a difference. Shifting short local journeys to active travel has many co-benefits in terms of health and wellbeing, connecting us with nature as well as social, environmental, and economic benefits.  

Active travel is also the glue that helps connect all other sustainable travel modes together – we all need to walk or cycle to catch the bus, train, ferry etc so getting used to more active travel will make the transition to other modes easier in the future. Even in a rural area many of our journeys are short and achievable on foot or bike and increasingly by e-bike, for that little bit of assistance on the hills, or if you have a load to carry. 

Working with and connecting communities has been central to our #cycleinthepark and #walkinthepark programmes where subtle behaviour nudges help more people to be active in nature. Climate change may not even feature in our discussions with participants; we are more likely to mention the social aspects and the personal benefits to health and wellbeing and the fact that getting out for a group walk or cycle is fun and enjoyable. Regular health walks and cycle meanders are also a visible aspect of our work and a subtle nudge for others to join in too. Providing communities and individuals with access to free e-bike trials, and our Strength and Balance programme have also been significant in changing behaviour and supporting participants build their confidence and mobility to help them make their own independent local journeys.  

Connecting with other organisations, partners and stakeholders means we have a growing network of Cycling Friendly Communities with a range of facilities such as information boards, tool-stations, top up taps for your water bottle, e-bike charging, seating, and secure parking areas all helping to provide that gentle nudge to say ”it’s better by bike.” 

This year we introduced a Cycle in the Park Welcome scheme extending our connections out to the National Parks wider business community providing advice and support to help them develop more of a welcome to cyclists. As part ocreating a more cycling friendly area to live, and help users plan and connect their journeys across the park we created a suite of recommended cycling routes plus eight inspirational and easy-to-follow itineraries using public transport as an alternative to using car journeys to some of the parks most popular destinations. Along with our interactive map locating cyclists to tool-stations, top up taps, and ebike chargers located across the park, all offer a choice for a more sustainable, low carbon day out. 

Our final piece of carbon-mitigation work relates to Wild Strathfillan an ambitious partnership project launched this year which aims to deliver visionary landscape-scale nature restoration across 50,000 hectares of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. The project will be key in helping to deliver the National Parks Future Nature Strategy to restore habitat and reverse biodiversity decline in the National Park by 2030 and ensuring widespread nature restoration across the park by 2040. 

Next time you plan a visit to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, download one of our itineraries or try a #walkinthepark & #cycleinthepark? To find out more email, call 07784 240270 or visit

Last modified on 30 June 2023