Jed trails revitalised

Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking

NEW leaflets for mountain biking trails around Jedburgh are expected this year.

Trail organisers hope one of the paths, many of which are also open to walkers and horse riders, will be re-routed this spring.

Jedburgh Pathways chairman Len Wyse said: “The pathways are getting used quite a bit and we get a tremendous amount of walkers in the town now.”

Work will start soon to re-route the Dunion Hill section of the longest marked path, the 40km Jeddart Justice trail.

Mr Wyse said: “It’s a high maintenance section, including boardwalks, and not used as much as the others. The change will make it easier – riders will instead go off the road at the top of the golf course and rejoin the route again near Swinnie Moor.”

Jedburgh Pathways, a volunteer group, was set up in 2000 to develop a multi-user path network around the town for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

The group raised more than £100,000 in grant funding and Glentress and Innerleithen trails course designer Pete Laing set out the first proposed routes.

The enthusiasts used existing paths, reopened old ways and built new sections to connect residential areas within Jedburgh to the town centre, link outlying farms and local caravan parks to the town and set up an environmentally friendly way to get round.

A horse rider himself, Mr Wyse said: “We wanted to improve access for walkers, horse riders and cyclists around Jedburgh and allow users to take advantage of the unique countryside surrounding the town.

“Another aim was to provide a unique recreation resource to attract visitors to Jedburgh who would come to use the path network.”

The network includes the 40km challenging cross-country mountain bike route Jeddart Justice Trail and two family or “improver” routes, the Dere Street Dash and Lanton Loop.

The Justice Trail sees riders climb 3,000 ft, taking in Dere Street, Lanton Woods and Dunion Road where instead of taking the single track boardwalk along the face of Dunion Hill and on to Black Law, passing the original home of Jedburgh Border Games, they will go off at the golf course and join the trail again at Swinnie for single track around the forest before a climb to Merlin Dean and on to the Borders Abbey Ways towards Todlaw farm where riders take a track to Galahill and the Castle Jail

The 10.5km Dere Street Dash features some steep descents and challenging rocky sections for walkers and cyclists, while the 6.5km Lanton Loop follows the Justice Trail as far as the start of the climb to Lanton when it turns back for Jedburgh. The nine walking routes range from 2.5km to 10.5km in length within and round the outskirts of the town.

The horse routes – set up by the British Horse Society’s Ann Fraser, who lives near Jedburgh – are two loops to the east and the west of the town.

Mr Wyse said the pathways, along with other signposted walks such as the Four Abbeys Ways, had attracted visitors to Jedburgh.

He said: “They bring a lot of people to the town but local people also use the trails. They get used quite a bit, especially Lanton Wood where you often see cyclists.

The town further boosted trade by being members of the community-led accreditation scheme for walker-friendly towns, Walkers are Welcome.

Mr Wyse said: “We are members to encourage people to come to the town and walk: only Jedburgh and Melrose in the Borders are members.”

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