A new underpass and sensory garden in Ayr officially opens with help from pupils at Doonfoot Primary School. The pass will now connect communities along National Cycle Network Route 7.
Underpass official opening, Dunure Road. Image: Gibson Digital
The £1.4m project features a new sensory garden and a new underpass on Dunure Road.
The former rail tunnel safely links pedestrian and cycle paths between Alloway and Burton.
Inspiration behind the improvements
The new underpass creates a vital and accessible walking, wheeling and cycling link for the local communities.
People travelling in the area can now avoid unsafe road crossings and walk, wheel and cycle more of their everyday journeys, regardless of their age, background, or ability.
The project links to the two-mile, traffic-free Alloway-Burton Path from Maybole Road, which follows the dismantled Maidens and Dunure Light Railway line.
As well as connecting housing estates and the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, the underpass also gives people safe access to National Cycle Network Route 7, with an attractive three-mile journey to Ayr town centre.
Also situated on Dunure Road, the new sensory garden was officially launched with the unveiling of a plaque explaining the project's background.
It features a wetland area, pathways, a boardwalk with a sensory route and plantings that will stimulate visitors’ senses through touch, sight, scent, taste and hearing.
Children safely connect to the Sensory Garden. Image: Gibson Digital
Local school pupils were invited to take part in a competition to name the sensory garden.
Primary five pupil Lucy Roberts’ winning name – Sense-Ayr-Ee - was voted the top choice by the judges, who were impressed by the variety and standard of entries.
Lucy was presented with a book token by Councillor Bob Pollock of South Ayrshire Council.
Teacher Miss Rhagan Kerr and Deputy Head Fraser Baird received 100 gardening kits on behalf of the school and 300 reusable water bottles, one for every pupil.
The official opening, which took place on Clean Air Day, highlights the importance of creating spaces where children can develop lifelong positive habits, stay healthy and protect the environment they live in.
According to the organisation Global Action Plan, ‘Children are particularly at risk from air pollution as their bodies are still developing. Air pollution can cause a range of health issues including irreversible effects on lung function development, worsening of asthma and can also affect children’s heart and brain functions’.
Doonfoot Primary School planting in the sensory garden. Image: Gibson Digital
Commenting on the success of the project, Sustrans Grant Manager Aileen Herraghty said:
“The new underpass on Dunure Road creates a safe, accessible and direct connection to National Cycle Network Route 7.
“Everyone in the area can now avoid crossing the A719, making it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle for more everyday and leisure journeys.
"Announcing the new improvements and sensory garden on Clean Air Day, a day focused on action to tackle air pollution, is very fitting.
“I hope it will inspire and encourage more people in Ayrshire to leave their car at home, enjoy the great outdoors and help tackle air pollution from transport".
Unveiling of a plaque explaining the project's background. Image: Gibson Digital
Working in partnership
The project has been supported by Scottish Government funding through Sustrans Scotland’s Places for Everyone programme and the National Cycle Network Development Fund, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Cycling Walking Safer Streets.
The improvements were designed by environmental design company Sweco and developed by construction company Story Contracting.