Plans for new Ladhope woods could include mountain bike trails

Galashiels and District councillor Bill White at Galashiels Golf Club, Ladhope where tree planting will be carried out.
Galashiels and District councillor Bill White at Galashiels Golf Club, Ladhope where tree planting will be carried out.

Proposals put forward by the Tweed Forum could see the planting of 18 hectares of woodland and the creation of mountain bike trails on land next to Galashiels Golf Club, off Ladhope Drive.

Opinions and suggestions from residents were gathered at an afternoon-long open exhibition at the Galashiels Interchange and a later meeting chaired by Galashiels councillor Bill White.

More than 70 people, including a sizeable proportion of young people, turned out to hear about the plans being drawn up for the common good land, currently a popular destination for walkers.

Mr White, also chairman of the Galashiels common good fund’s committee, said: “There was a large contingent of the young people of the town and a lot of good comments being made, which is really encouraging.

“It was a very constructive meeting, and I think some of the fears of residents have now been allayed.

“I think we should be looking seriously at this as a development for Galashiels.”

Working with Scottish Borders Council and the common good fund committee, the Tweed Forum plans to create a wooded area including around eight hectares of Scots pine and ten acres planted with native trees such as oak, birch and hazel.

The forum and Forestry Commission Scotland visited the site earlier in the year and were satisfied that it could host a sizeable new woodland without restricting public access.

Planting at the nearby Glendearg site has been approved and will begin shortly.

Hugh Chalmers, collaborative action co-ordinator for the forum, said after last week’s meeting: “There was enthusiastic discussion, with the overall feeling that, if people were prepared to work together and with good design, this kind of development would be of great benefit to Galashiels.”

The potential for trails on the site was flagged up following suggestions that the ground conditions and proximity to the Borders Railway make the area well suited for mountain biking.

However, plans for such a trail network remain in their very early stages.

A decision on whether to proceed with the woodland proposals is expected to be made at the next meeting of the common good fund committee on Thursday, December 8.

If approved, the main funder will be the Forestry Commission, and planting could begin in late 2017.

Anyone wishing to comment further on the plans can contact Mr White at bill.white@scotborders.gov.uk