A new ground breaking agreement between Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) and the Tweed Valley Trails Association (TVTA) aims to strengthen links with the mountain biking community in the area.
Under the new agreement, the TVTA has been given the go ahead to take responsibility for the management and maintenance of three unauthorised trails that are currently being used in the Tweed Valley.
This project is based in Caberston forest, also known as the ‘Golfie' to many within the local riding community.
The move follows on from national guidance which set out a range of options which could help land managers tackle issues surrounding unauthorised trails built by mountain bikers.
Sallie Bailey, South Scotland Region Manager with Forestry and Land Scotland said:
“The Tweed Valley is a mecca for mountain biking and has a long history of world class riding for all abilities. We want to build on this and strengthen the links we already have with the mountain biking community.
This yearly agreement is the first of its kind and will be run on a pilot basis. We’ve been highly impressed with the TVTA’s genuine desire and professionalism to work with us to develop new approaches to trail management.”
Under the agreement, the TVTA will adopt a number of existing unauthorised trails around the Caberston area as this forest is currently the most heavily used of the unofficial trail network.
Work will include generating independent funds to manage and maintain the trails using best trailbuilding practices available.
The TVTA is one of the first charities to be formed specifically to engage with landowners on the unauthorised trail issue. Their aim is to help both land managers and the biking community manage trails, whilst establishing a culture of responsibility and sustainability.
Neil Carnegie, co-Chair of the Tweed Valley Trails Association said:
“Now world famous, the unofficial trail network in the Tweed Valley has exploded in size and popularity over recent years attracting visitors from around the world.
“We are delighted to see FLS embrace this growing resource and engage with the riding community through the TVTA to manage and improve the network of trails for local riders and visitors alike. It's been a long process to get here and we can't wait to get working on the ground, our tools into the dirt and start making a difference.”
The mountain biking scene in Scotland is fast developing, both in terms of technology and disciplines, with enduro riding going from strength to strength. This has sparked a rise in unauthorised trails being built across Scotland.
With health and safety being paramount, land managers have been working with biking interests for the last two years through the National Access Forum to develop recommendations on how best to tackle the issue. Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland has played a pivotal role in this work.
This new agreement is seen as an exciting development in bringing bikers and land managers together to boost responsible riding.