A new long-distance trail running along the length of the River Tweed has received a funding boost.
South of Scotland Enterprise will provide £4.5million over five years to Tweed Forum to part-fund the delivery of its Destination Tweed project.
Destination Tweed will see the creation of a long distance walking route which will facilitate cycling in sections from Moffat to Berwick-Upon-Tweed.
The 113-mile route will connect neighbouring communities and will be supported by an ambitious activity programme including events and educational and cultural engagement opportunities as well as a wide range of conservation and enhancement projects.
The Trail will be underpinned by an innovative interpretive experience to be enjoyed by visitors and residents of the Scottish Borders alike.
The project aims to deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits in all areas covered by the route along a distance of the River Tweed.
SOSE’s support follows a £2.98m National Lottery Heritage Fund award in July, with the project targeting an overall investment of £25m to deliver Destination Tweed.
Destination Tweed is a Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal project being led by the Tweed Forum, with support from Scottish Borders Council.
Borders-based Tweed Forum is a charitable trust and umbrella organisation whose remit is to promote the sustainable use of the Tweed and protect and enhance the natural, built and cultural heritage of the region.
The organisation promotes a comprehensive and sustainable approach to place development and regeneration of areas across the Tweed catchment.
Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise, said:
“Destination Tweed will connect a number of areas right across the South of Scotland, who will gain from the provision of a new long distance walking route as well as valuable conservation and environmental projects.
“SOSE is committed to supporting projects that not only provide long-term benefits to the people across the South of Scotland but also work in sustaining our much-admired natural environment.“
Luke Fisher, Destination Tweed Project Manager at Tweed Forum, said:
“We’d like to thank South of Scotland Enterprise for this significant grant which will help to create an important new tourism asset for the South of Scotland and for the country as a whole.
“The River Tweed is famed across the world for its salmon fishing, historic houses and castles, literary connections and wonderful natural environment.
“Destination Tweed aims to work with landowners and other partners across the region to harness this rich heritage and deliver a host of economic, environmental, educational, cultural and health benefits both for local communities and for visitors to the area.”
Councillor Euan Jardine, Leader of Scottish Borders Council and Co-Chair of the Borderlands Partnership said:
“This cross-border project aims to maximise the positive impact that the River Tweed can have for communities along its banks, whilst at the same time ensuring that the river and its immediate surroundings are also protected and enhanced.
“This will deliver benefits to communities, local business, residents, visitors and landowners as well as supporting nature and biodiversity in the river corridor from source to sea.
“A full business case is being finalised to progress the release of funding from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal for Destination Tweed, and it is exciting to see that significant momentum is building around this project.”
Scottish Government Business Minister Ivan McKee said:
“I welcome this extra investment, which will encourage tourism along the River Tweed and the wider Borders area as part of the Borderlands Growth Deal.
“The Scottish Government’s £85 million funding for the Deal will boost sustainable growth in the South of Scotland as part of wider efforts to transform the economy.”