The new, 12-mile Traquair XC Trail is part of the 7stanes project which aims to build seven biking centres across the south of Scotland.
Local tourism businesses are benefiting from the influx of bikers who are travelling to the Tweed Valley. Visitor numbers have shot up at Glentress forest to 252 000, an increase of 90 000 year on year.
Launching the new trail, Eddie Brogan, head of Scottish Enterprise’s Tourism Division, said the trail-building frenzy was bringing an economic boom to the Borders:
"Projects such as this new trail at Innerleithen represent the kind of investment that Scotland needs if it is to attract mountain bikers, not only from Scotland but also from further afield. There is already evidence from other 7stanes projects that this kind of investment can bring additional visitors and provide a significant boost to the economies of rural areas.
"Scottish Enterprise now looks forward to working with local tourism businesses and partners to see how we can best capitalise on this new trail and the wider 7stanes project for the benefit of the rural economy in this part of Scotland."
The Traquair XC Trail rises 570 metres from the forest floor up to the Minch Moor. It then snakes round parts of the forest on swoopy technical singletrack. The grand finale is a massive descent called Caddon Bank which thunders down the forest hillside taking in big jumps, raised bermed corners, and a ‘bomb hole’. An average rider will take about three hours to complete it.
Karl Bartlett, 7stanes manager, said:
"What is special about this route is that nearly all of it is on singletrack which should be a big hit for riders. Being right next to the world famous Red Bull Project Downhill site, and five minutes from Glentress this means the
location is instantly recognisable and accessible.
"I’ve had some great feedback from local business who are able to make the most of the biking boom. I was recently speaking to one hotelier who said nearly 85 per cent of his business is from mountain bikers."
The 7stanes project is being managed by Forestry Commission Scotland with partners Scottish Enterprise Dumfries & Galloway, Dumfries & Galloway and Scottish Borders Tourist Boards, Scottish Enterprise Borders, Scottish Borders Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Solway Heritage, and the Heritage Lottery Fund. All the partners joined forces to raise £1 million towards the initiative, and match-funding from Europe brought the £2 million project to life.