Peebles gets more off road trails

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has just announced that it has been awarded £599,965 to develop the Tweed Valley path network in the tenth round of Rural Priorities funding.

So, no new Inners/Glentress trails as yet, but this is more to attract the less-rad rider, and also to allow safer riding between the different centres (you DO ride to Innerleithen from Glentress, rather than hopping in the car, don’t you?). It does seem that FC is keen to dilute the image of Glentress as a mountain bike centre and to make it a more attractive proposition for the non-cyclist. Line up your grumbles below…

Here’s what they say:

“The project will provide an off-road route connecting the town of Peebles to the villages of Cardrona and Innerleithen in the Tweed Valley, along with safe cycling and walking links between these communities, plus a link between the 7stanes mountain biking centres at Glentress and Innerleithen.

The proposed route is along a former single track railway.  The development of the route links existing and aspirational routes in the Scottish Borders Core Path Plan.  Following feasibility and detailed design work, planning permission for the development of the route between Peebles and Innerleithen was granted in March 2009.

It is hoped that this proposal will help to encourage more recreational cycling in the Tweed Valley, and will also help to keep 7stanes centres at the forefront of an expanding market.  Glentress is currently the most popular visitor destination in the Scottish Borders with approximately 300,000 visitors per annum.

Cue this very old stock FC photo of Chris Duncan riding his V-braked Guyzer frame through the forests.

Cycling has been identified as having considerable potential in the Scottish Borders and a feasibility study in 2006 identified that the area would benefit from more ‘low level’ routes appealing to family and recreational cyclists.

Cycling has also been identified as a key priority in the Scottish Borders Tourism Action Plan, and the further development of leisure cycling and walking routes will bring considerable economic benefits to the Tweed Valley area.

A feasibility study has identified market demand for the project, which estimates 27,600 cyclists and 22,400 other users using the route, with 5,000 visitors attracted to the Tweed Valley specifically because of the trail.  This equates to gross economic expenditure of £1,046,000, creating an estimated 15 net tourism jobs.

Project costs (trail and bridge construction and associated way-marking) are estimated at £800,000.  Match funding of £200,000 is being contributed from Sustrans and SBC.  It is anticipated that the project will start in 2011 and be completed by December 2012.”

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