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Tweed Valley Forest Park zonings aim to increase everyone’s enjoyment

16 September 2020  |  

Forestry and Land Scotland is looking to help improve everyone’s enjoyment, minimise any future user conflicts and improve the natural environment in the Tweed Valley forests by setting out zones for different activities.

Tweed Valley Forests

The move is intended to support responsible access from mountain bikers, walkers and horse riders and to promote greater mutual understanding and consideration of other forest users’ needs.

Katie Jarvis for FLS, said;

“The Tweed Valley forests are wonderful places and increasingly busy with different recreational users. Everyone agrees they are a great resource for both locals and visitors. This success, and popularity, does need management so that all users can enjoy the forests.

Our Land Management consultation in the Tweed Valley highlighted that groups had concerns about safety, reduced opportunities to enjoy quiet and slow recreation, and users, particularly mountain bikers, were keen to develop and maintain the paths and trail network.

All users of the forests have the right of responsible access afforded to them through the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC).  SOAC has three main principles: respecting the interests of other people, caring for the environment, and taking responsibility for your own actions.

We have developed and consulted on a plan that reflects these principles and will help all users act responsibly. As land managers it will enable us to manage the land including its recreational usage in a responsible and safe manner.

We believe that the recreation areas give everyone the space to enjoy their chosen pastime.”

Several maps of local forests have been produced showing areas where our management of the forests will work towards  minimising  conflict between users. Visitors and stakeholders will be consulted at regular intervals for their views on the effectiveness of the zones.

Graeme McLean, Head of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS), added:

“The Tweed Valley is one of the premier destinations for mountain biking in Scotland. It is also a great place for other activities, such as, walking and horse riding. We welcome the publication of the zoning plan as it gives clear areas where mountain biking, and associated trail development, will be tolerated and encouraged. We look forward to supporting the Tweed Valley Trails Association and Glentress Trailfairies to plan where new trails can be built and existing trails can be improved within the preferred areas for mountain bikers.”

Neil Carnegie, Chair of Tweed Valley Trail Association (TVTA), said:

"As a group aiming to promote responsible mountain bike access the TVTA are delighted to see an approach being taken to actively create space for all the varying groups looking to share the Tweed Valley. We recognise that there is a need to keep some areas quiet and think the new layout represents a fair compromise for all that we hope will give everyone space to enjoy the outdoors here in their own way"

Lesley Muirden, Tweed Valley Forest Users Group and British Horse Society (Scotland), said;

“We look forward to working long term with Forestry and Land Scotland to put this plan into operation. This framework should bring benefits and clarity for all users: horse riders, walkers and bikers."