Renfrewshire Council

Development plans for Castle Semple and Muirshiel Country Parks

The role of the parks, developing the plan, the challenges, improvements and priorities, aims and objectives of the plan, detailed Strategic Tourism Infrastructure Development Plan.

Castle Semple and Clyde Muirshiel are two country parks in Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park that Renfrewshire Council own, manage and maintain.

The role of the parks

The role of the country parks is to provide fresh air, open spaces and responsible recreational opportunities close to where people live. 

A core element of Castle Semple Loch is water-based recreation, and a range of watersports are available to users which includes sailing, canoeing, rowing, stand-up paddle boarding and windsurfing. Watersports are managed by Renfrewshire Council along with several Independent Sports Clubs based at the Loch.

Muirshiel Country Park focuses on access to the countryside, wild walks and rural beauty spots. It includes a small visitor centre, and car park and plays host to a range of activities including star gazing and outdoor pursuits.

Most visits to the parks are for recreation or access to other destinations via a network of paths, trails and cycle routes.

There are several places which are easily accessible from the parks:

  • Castle Semple Country Park, Visitor Centre and Watersports Centre
  • Muirshiel Visitor Centre
  • RSPB Lochwinnoch and Aird Meadow
  • Barr Loch Reserve
  • Lochwinnoch Village Centre
  • Greenock Cut Visitor Centre
  • The Thom, Gryfe, Daff and Outerwards Reservoirs
  • Lunderston Bay and Clyde Coast
  • Misty Law, Burnt Hill and Hill of Stake
  • Muirhead and Camphill Reservoirs
  • Kilbirnie Loch

You can find out more about visiting Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park on the Paisley.Is website.

Developing the plan

The Strategic Tourism Infrastructure Development Plan for Castle Semple and Muirshiel Country Parks was developed in collaboration with members of the public, park staff and the Council. 

Consultation centred on the needs of Castle Semple which included visitor offer, operational management, measures to support net zero and the promotion of active and sustainable travel choices.

The challenges

Several challenges were highlighted.

At Castle Semple Country Park, these included:

  • low visitor numbers
  • quality of the visitor experience
  • lack of toilet and changing facilities
  • safety and traffic management
  • limited capacity of the visitor centre
  • flow, catchment and drainage of water between the rivers and lochs
  • operational management of the site.

At Muirshiel Country Park, these included:

  • how to sustain the facilities and increase visitor numbers
  • the condition of the Muirshiel Country Park visitor centre
  • the limitations of the entry road and access to the park.

Improvements and priorities

The immediate priorities are new toilet facilities, bike storage and cycle route improvements at Castle Semple, with a plan to bid for external funding in early 2024 towards more short-term improvements.

There's also a focus on: 

  • upgrading the trails and nature lookouts 
  • cycling and pedestrian safety
  • new signage.

Longer-term, we hope to develop a masterplan and apply for external funding to refurbish or provide a new Castle Semple Visitor Centre (including an expanded food and drink offer). upgrade the facilities for outdoor activities and improve access to strategic assets.

Full report

Email us at if you'd like to read the detailed report.