Light at the end of the tunnel...
*NOTE ..Please do not use any 'aspirational' cycle routes in the Upper Tweed. For example those marked as green dotted lines on the Scottish C2C map. In particular we ask you not to use the Neidpath tunnel until essential safety work has been completed!
The former railway lines of Upper Tweeddale in the Scottish Borders have huge potential as walking, cycling and horseriding routes. This is clearly demonstrated by the many users enjoying the new path between Peebles and Innerleithen.
The aim of Upper Tweed Railway Paths is to extend this route west, connecting Peebles to Broughton, Biggar, Symington and Tweedsmuir. An initial feasibility study was the essential first step, focusing primarily on landowner consultation, engagement with local authorities and the strategic fit of the route within the wider region. We appointed consultants John Grimshaw CBE and David Gray. John was founder, Director and Chief Engineer of Sustrans, and now works freelance to establish successful multiuse paths. David is known for conceiving and developing the popular C2C route, from Whitehaven to Sunderland. Together they have an unmatched record in making routes happen. Input has also come from Vyv Wood-Gee. Vyv has many years experience of route development in Southern Scotland, including the South of Scotland Countryside Trails and the recently developed Annandale Way.
The initial study completed in August 2013 and the report is available here in Summary and Complete form. landowners were contacted and negotiations are ongoing as part of a second stage to the project. We anticipate these negotiations progressing to an agreement, one way or another, with each separate landowner. Current land use on some sections of the line, e.g. housing and specific agricultural use, prevents use as a route. For these sections alternatives are being examined.
Our major funders are Climate Challenge Fund, Big Lottery Fund and LEADER. We are grateful to Phil Kearney from Sustrans and Chris Parkin from Rural Development Trust, for help and advice. Also thanks to Simon Pilpel (Access Development Manager in South Lanarkshire Council), Keith Robeson (Senior Countryside Ranger in Scottish Borders Council) and their respective colleagues, for support.
Please note that only some sections of the former railway lines are currently established routes, and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code should always be observed. For more information please refer to the relevant local authority ‘core path’ network.
Clicking on the supporting quotes below will take you to the organisation
- "The Scottish Borders
is predominantly a leisure tourism destination. Restoration of
the Upper Tweeddale Railway Paths could prove to be a catalyst
for enticing a whole new set of visitors who would come to
walk this newly restored route and also undertake other
activities throughout the area."
Regional Director VisitScotland
am fully supportive of this initiative. Long abandoned railway
tracks provide ideal conditions for use as cycle routes. Easy
gradients, traffic free and passing through some of the most
wild and stunning landscapes in Scotland. A truly splendid way
to keep fit and share it all with your friends and family and
all at very modest cost."
Councillor Tweeddale West
always thought that you get good views from a car on a road
but great views from a train on the track! Enhancing and
linking up the existing, defunct tracks of Tweeddale for
improved walking and cycling, is an excellent project that
will give us all a new, and better, perspective of the
beautiful area that we live in."
Councillor, Tweeddale West
- "Reopening the old
line as a pathway will bring not only economic benefits along
its route, but promote healthy activity in an environment that
is safe and free to access."
Christine Grahame MSP
- "Our ambition to
be a world class activity destination by 2015 will only be
achieved if great initiatives like the Upper Tweed Railway
Paths are supported. Anything that increases our network of
paths for walkers, riders and cyclists is a must."
Sarah L Macdonald, Development Manager
Tweed Valley Tourist Consortium
- "Joining the network of
paths together is a fantastic idea. The entire Tweed
Valley is set up perfectly for this type of project and I can
see enormous health and transport benefits."
Chief Executive, Borders Sport and Leisure Trust
- "Tweeddale has a
terrific reputation for the great cycling and walking on offer
and attracts visitors from far and wide but we need to do all
we can to boost the local tourism offer. Using the old railway
lines could be an excellent way of making the most of what we
have and turning our existing assets to good account for the
Rt Hon David Mundell
MP Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale
- "The Tweed Valley has good
claim to being the best cycling destination in the UK, with
visitors and all kinds of cycle events voting with their
wheels to prove it. Making the railway lines usable by bikes
and pedestrians would add a vital dimension to the amenities
here – I have no doubt what it would do for economic growth
throughout the area. I’ve visited areas in Europe where
projects like this have completely re-invigorated and
transformed multiple communities, let’s hope the same can
happen here. It would provide stunning riding and walking for
Festival Director, Tweedlove
think this is a wonderful idea, to use the trackbed of the
former branch line. Of course I support the concept."
Dr David Baird
Chairman Tweeddale Ramblers + SUPPORTER NO. 500!
such as Dawyck Botanic Garden are likely to benefit from this
development - good for tourism in the Borders as a whole and
the direct economy of the area."
Graham Stewart, Curator,
Dawyck Botanic Garden
- "At Stobo Castle we
promote healthy living and the Upper Tweed Railway Paths would
be a fantastic attraction to suggest to our guests and
members. The concept of providing a safe, traffic-free route
suitable for walking and cycling, whilst also boosting the
economy, must be supported."
Stephen Winyard, Managing Director
Stobo Castle Health Spa
the roads around school become increasingly busy we are
struggling to encourage pupils to walk or cycle to school. We
are committed to having happy and healthy pupils in our school
and would see the railway path as an ideal way of having safe
and fun avenues for individuals and classes to gain access to
our beautiful countryside."
Maureen Sharp, Headteacher
Broughton and Newlands Primary Schools
- "The Tweedsmuir
Community Company are in negotiations to reopen the Crook Inn.
A cycle path would provide an excellent route on which the
Crook Inn can provide services to tourism."
Tweedsmuir Community Company
- "At the Laurel
Bank Tea Room we are continually asked about good local walks
– it would be wonderful to be able to recommend the old
railway lines but at present they are too overgrown and
difficult to access."
Bistro and Woodland owner
- "I'd welcome any development that increases the number of
customers in our shop. And as a horserider with the Cornets I'd
use the route myself."
Willie Steel, Owner
Broughton Village Store
- "Developing these
old railway lines could encourage tourism, for walkers,
horse-riders and cyclists alike, and be a real asset to people
in the local and surrounding areas. I am sure that such
development would encourage so many, locally and further
afield, to take advantage of what this beautiful area has to
MSP for South of Scotland
- "Sustrans fully supports
the development of a shared-use path along the old railway
between Peebles and Symington. Such a scheme would be
appreciated by locals and visitors alike. Sustrans is the
charity behind the National Cycle Network, which annually
contributes nearly £100M to the Scottish economy from tourism
and recreation; we think that the businesses of the Upper
Tweed Valley should also benefit from this income and would
welcome the creation of this new path network."
- "The route would put
this area firmly on the map, boost opportunities for families
to be active together and offer an alternative and safer
travelling option for both work and recreation."
Peebles Cycle Club
- "A significant
amount of my work is with walks in the Scottish Borders and I
believe this area has some of the best walking and cycling
potential in Scotland but has been backward in developing and
promoting its leisure activities. The potential for
walking is growing and is of economic benefit to the region."
- "Walking provides local
communities with a steady income stream, so any new walks will
be welcomed with open arms. We would definitely send clients
to your area."
Julie Deans & Steve Higson
Gemini Walks Ltd
development of more off road cycle paths near to the 7stanes
would be very beneficial for cyclists, especially for
beginners. The new pathways will also add to the tourism
offering and will help the local community to enjoy the great
Chairman of 7stanes Community Interest Company
- "A well maintained and
way marked path network is essential for a destination to
prosper as a destination for walkers and cyclists. This
project would enable the Upper Tweed to benefit from the
walkers and cyclists crying out for new destinations in
Scotland. We would definitely be interested in adding walking
and cycling holiday programmes in this area."
Neil Lapping, Director
Macs Adventure Cycling and Walking Holidays
Tweed Community Council support the creation of multi-use
paths along the existing abandoned railway lines and hope that
this might be achievable. This route could
provide a valuable resource to the Community as a whole.
It would attract visitors to the area, thus providing more
opportunities for local business to flourish; creating and
safeguarding local jobs."
Upper Tweed Community Council
- "An excellent
project - developing the old rail routes for mulituse paths
could provide a valuable resource for local people."
Claudia Beamish MSP
- "The resurfacing of the
disused railway track in the Upper Tweed area would provide an
invaluable asset to the Tweed Valley and a legacy for future
generations. The new pathway would link in to the upcoming
Peebles to Innerleithen shared pathway, providing a safe cycle
path for families, visitors and commuters. This path would
provide a boost to the local economy and would help reduce our
carbon footprint by providing an alternative to using the
Tweedgreen Project Coordinator