Glentress forest tourism project takes a step closer

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Planning applications for 56 secluded eco-cabins and 16km of new trails at Glentress Forest have now been submitted to Scottish Borders Council.

The proposed £11.3 million tourism development is being managed by a partnership between Forest Enterprise Scotland and Forest Holidays.

Forest Holidays will provide private sector investment of £10 million for the project with the remaining £1.3 million from Forest Enterprise Scotland, which will focus on new recreation facilities.

The investment has the potential of generating an extra £1 million into the local economy each year and employment of up to 60 people.

The project is a prime example of the private and public sector working together to boost tourism in the region. It also reinforces the “Team Scotland” partnership approach, a key message at the recent forest tourism summit hosted at Glentress.  

Sallie Bailey, Forest District Manager for Forest Enterprise Scotland said:  “Forest tourism in the Borders is certainly in the spotlight. The recent forest tourism summit was an important first step in bringing public and private tourism interests together to seek new opportunities to grow this sector.

“Forest Enterprise Scotland is contributing to this on a number of fronts. The cabins and new trail proposals would be another great asset for the Tweed Valley and south of Scotland.

“We’d like to thank everyone who took part in our consultation drop-in events and completed our online questionnaires. The feedback was greatly appreciated and helped shape the final proposals that we put forward.”

The combined attractions are part of the award winning Glentress Masterplan project which has was adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance and widely consulted on for the last two years.

Under the proposals, a new mountain bike skills area will be built along with a number of new biking taster trails for all levels. The new trails will incorporate elements of the ‘Freeride’ area, as well as a new route for walkers. All the new trails will be situated around the Glentress Peel development at Castle Hill.

These new facilities will replace the existing skills and freeride areas at Buzzard’s nest, where the cabin development is planned to be situated.

Forest Holidays is taking forward the new eco-cabin development which would be sensitively blended into the forest’s surroundings.

Bruce McKendrick, Chief Executive Officer of Forest Holidays attended the recent Tourism Summit at Glentress and commented:  

“We are committed to working closely with the community surrounding Glentress. Our guests delight in discovering new experiences and the Tweed Valley has a wealth of dramatic scenery, incredible adventures and authentic local attractions for visitors to enjoy. 

“We are proud to already contribute to the rural economy in Scotland through our two existing locations at Strathyre and Ardgartan Argyll, by supporting local businesses and helping to create a vibrant tourist economy 365 days a year. Together with our Forest Enterprise Scotland partner we are confident that the Glentress Masterplan will bring many more opportunities to the area.”

A decision on the two planning applications is expected in the Spring 2018. 

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Notes to news editors

1. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of the Forestry Commission and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.

2. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.

3. Forest Holidays: offering guests the chance to enjoy a peaceful getaway surrounded by picturesque British forests, Forest Holidays are positive experiences in Britain's amazing forests; connecting people, nature and local communities. Forest Holidays is a joint venture, public/private partnership with the Forestry Commission and has a 125-year lease on the land on which sites are based. The cabins are architecturally designed to fit sensitively within the woodland environment with modest central facilities. With nature at the heart of Forest Holidays' ethos, they provide year-round short breaks and holidays in timber cabins set within nine locations on the Forest Enterprise estate, operating successfully in National Parks and other sensitive locations.

4. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6508 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.