South Scotland

Scottish Borders sets 'premier' cycling destination goal

Cyclists in the Scottish Borders
Image caption The strategy lists the Borders' strengths as a cycling destination and the challenges it faces

A tourism strategy hopes to make the Borders Scotland's "premier cycling destination" by 2021.

The draft document outlines a string of strengths the region already has but also the challenges it faces.

Among the potential improvements is an off-road route between Galashiels and Edinburgh via Peebles.

Councillors are being asked to agree sending the document out for consultation before its final version is completed.

The Scottish Borders Cycle Tourism Strategy said the region had a "long-established" reputation for leisure cycling gained thanks to the 7Stanes mountain biking routes and other trails.

It said that in the first nine months of 2015 alone, cycling tourism had been worth about £155m across Scotland.

Image copyright Tim Edgeler

However, it highlighted the lack of specific economic impact figures for the Scottish Borders as an issue which needed to be addressed in order to measure progress.

The report also recognised the competition the region faced from other areas which are keen to promote cycling including Perthshire, Dumfries and Galloway and the Highlands.

Among the developments which it said could "enhance the product offering" in the Borders are:

  • an extension of the Tweed Valley Railway Path from Innerleithen to Walkerburn
  • a route from Peebles to Roslin
  • an off-road route between Galashiels and Edinburgh via Peebles
  • a route between Melrose and Oxton utilising sections of off-road paths and quieter roads
  • an off-road route between Newtown St Boswells and Coldstream via Kelso
  • an off-road route between Earlston and Eyemouth via Duns and Reston

"It is crucial for the Scottish Borders not to fall behind and continued product development is a priority in order to maintain a competitive position," the report concluded.

"Development of infrastructure and product development of the tourism offer are key.

"The Scottish Borders must have a structured strategy and action plan with the appropriate investment in order to maintain and expand its position as Scotland's leading cycling destination."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites