Figures released by Forestry Commission Scotland reveal more than 364,000 visitors made their way to the forests in the Tweed Valley Forest Park in 2003, more than 130 000 more than the previous year. Glentress, in particular, has seen a massive rise in visitors, many of them MTBers, up from 90 000 to 252 000 visitors.

Visitor numbers rocket in ‘recreation-friendly’ Scottish forests

The influx of visitors to the park, which reaches from Peebles to Selkirk, has been attributed to a range of new forest recreation facilities.

Jeremy Thompson of Forestry Commission Scotland said:

"The Tweed Valley Forest Park is making a significant contribution to the tourism industry in the Borders. The figures prove that we are providing a positive experience for many when they visit as many come back again and again. Key to the big success of the forest park is the top class recreation facilities we have to offer.

"At Glentress, visitor numbers have shot up by 90,000 to over 252,000 because we are providing top class mountain biking. One of the trails was voted the best in Britain so we know we are doing a good job in giving bikers what they want. Add these fantastic trails to the massively popular Hub cafe and bike shop in the forest then we are not surprised that the place is buzzing all the time.

"We don’t intend to rest on our laurels though and through the 7stanes mountain bike project we aim to open yet another major trail near Innerleithen during the Spring."

The Euro-funded 7stanes project aims to build seven purpose built mountain bike centres across the south of Scotland.

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