The Environment and Climate Change Minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, formally opened the new Tweed Valley Railway Path between Peebles and Innerleithen today. The path will provide opportunities for walking, cycling and horse-riding.
The new path follows the route of the former railway line and includes a new bridge over the River Tweed, where today’s official opening of the route took place. The new route cost over £1 million.
Mr Wheelhouse said: “The unpredictable nature of our climate means we have to look at ways of reducing Scotland’s carbon footprint and initiatives like the Tweed Valley Railway Path encourage active travel as a lower-carbon option.
“We need to give people the facilities and options to choose walking and cycling as part of the plan to fight climate change, as well as promoting healthier lifestyles, and this route, which is achieving this in a rural area, is an excellent example of that.”
The new path will provide opportunities for walking, cycling and horse-riding in this part of the Tweed Valley Forest Park.
“ The new path will provide opportunities for walking, cycling and horse-riding in this part of the Tweed Valley Forest Park. ”
It also provides excellent off-road links to the world-class mountain biking centres at Glentress and Innerleithen, and offers opportunities for local journeys to be made by bike rather than car, making them more environmentally friendly.
Parents will also have an opportunity to take their children cycling in a relatively safe environment away from traffic.
Councillor Gordon Edgar, Executive Member for Roads & Infrastructure, said: “The new path will provide opportunities for walking, cycling and horse-riding in this part of the Tweed Valley Forest Park and it is hoped that this new facility will also bring more people into our area and help to provide potential employment opportunities.
“We hope that the new route will also help further support the Scottish Borders' position as a world-renowned cycling destination. Recent reports from local communities already suggest that the route is being very well used.”
Andy Keba, Sustrans Scotland Community Links Project Officer, said: "Sustrans is delighted that this fantastic new route is now open for people to use. We are confident that it will prove to be as popular with mountain bikers bound for the Glentress Trail Centre as it will be for families, golfers and tourists exploring all that the Tweed Valley has to offer. Sustrans strongly encourages everybody to get out and make the most of this new facility."
The new route links Peebles into the Sustrans National Cycle Network, which at the moment runs up the Tweed Valley to Innerleithen and then north to Edinburgh.
Scottish Borders Council has been keen to acknowledge and develop cycling related activity in the Borders, with recent reports indicating that the combined value of leisure and mountain biking activity could be worth as much as £358m a year to the Scottish economy.
The Council has supported development of a website to promote cycling in the Scottish Borders: www.cyclescottishborders.com.