Newcastleton active leisure plans take form
The next phase of Newcastleton’s Holm Hill, the Active Leisure Strategy, gets under way with a £500k investment from partners; UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund (£284k), South of Scotland Enterprise Ambitions Fund (£100k), Scottish Government’s Strengthening Communities Fund (£40k) and Newcastleton Community Trust’s own funds which will all contribute to this initial first phase.
This phase provides funding for old paths to be reopened and creation of new mountain bike trails to complement the existing 7Stanes mountain bike network at Newcastleton.
Following feedback from the community, the new paths and trails will, in part, be incorporated into the new forest planting at Coulter Syke, which replaces the old Boosie Wood which previously dominated parts of the community.
This phase also allows panoramic community viewpoints to be enhanced; a new memorial garden providing space to create a small woodland overlooking the community will be created, as well as enhanced car parking and improved access.
Studies will also be undertaken to ensure rare and varied biodiversity is safeguarded.
Greg Cuthbert, chair of Newcastleton Community Trust, said: “We are locked in our small parcel of land and want to create a better, more sustainable life for our grandchildren. Owning land and assets enable us to do that.
"These investments continue to follow a sustainable model; providing enhanced local facilities for our community whilst attract others to enjoy our landscape and heritage. It is a privilege to be able to share what we have with visitors; these investments will attract more to visit stay and play and in turn increase our economic viability and inward investment from others.
"It is the next step of our journey and we are thrilled to be starting it.”
In addition, funds allow for preparatory capital works to get the site ready for a major refurbishment to upgrade existing facilities into a multi-purpose pavilion providing enhanced facilities to accommodate large events from cycling and mountain biking to weddings.
Jane Morrison- Ross, Chief Executive of South of Scotland Enterprise said:
“Alongside our partners, we have ambitious plans to encourage active travel across the South of
Scotland, including making our region the leading cycling destination in Scotland. The Holm Hill
project in Newcastleton will support this collective ambition for the South, encouraging local people to
get active, and visitors to come to our wonderful region.”
Councillor Scott Hamilton, SBC’s Executive Member for Community and Business Development,
“Scottish Borders Council is delighted to able to award funding along with the UK Government for this
exciting new development project for Newcastleton. The creation of new pathways and cycle routes
will prove to be a valuable asset for the health and wellbeing of the local community and will
encourage more visitors into the area to support local businesses.
“This investment adds to the existing 7stanes MTB trails and highlights the ambition to ensure the
Borders is the European Capital for Mountain Biking.”