Highlands & Islands

Western Isles sheep fleeces used in repairing footpaths

Laying a wool path in Uist
Image caption RSPB Scotland is using wool in fixing paths at a reserve in Uist

Sheep fleeces are being used for repairing paths at a nature reserve in the Western Isles.

The wool, bought from local crofts, is folded and then layered with stones. The wool stops the stones from sinking into peat and allows water to drain.

Used instead of a plastic membrane, the traditional technique has been used for fixing paths in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh and in the Lake District.

RSPB Scotland has been laying the wool paths at a reserve in Uist.

Reserve warden Heather Beaton said fleeces offered an environmentally-friendly solution to fixing footpaths.

She said: "The normal way you would put in paths would be to have a plastic membrane and then put stones on top.

"But its not what we want for the reserve. We heard about sheep wool paths were being experimented with in other parts of Scotland and we thought we would give that a shot."

Image caption The wool is layered with stones and prevents the path sinking into wet peat

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