South Scotland

Scottish Borders bids to harness horse tourism

Horse tourism Image copyright Southern Uplands Partnership

A new tourism scheme hopes to boost equestrian tourism in the Borders.

Ride Scotland's Horse Country aims to develop a network of facilities for riders and their horses along more than 300 miles of off-road trails.

Project co-ordinator Gowan Miller said the region had the "perfect combination" of spectacular countryside and long-established trails.

If successful, it is hoped the scheme could spread out into Northumberland and Dumfries and Galloway.

The Southern Uplands Partnership secured Leader funding for the project and it has now been backed by a range of other bodies.

'Recognised brand'

"The first phase involves identifying high quality accommodation and stopover points for riders and their horses on a trail-by-trail basis," said Ms Miller.

"Our initial target is to get 15 establishments on board and to expand the trails network from there.

"We are currently talking to those with accommodation and equestrian facilities to establish trail-stopovers and would like to hear from anyone interested in diversifying their existing business or those already established that might want to take part."

She said the ultimate aim was to establish a "nationally recognised brand".

"Our initial target audience would live within a two to three-hour drive away from our trails," she said.

"In the longer term we hope to attract horse lovers from throughout the UK and abroad."

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