Innerleithen bike trail deal 'first of its kind'
A "groundbreaking" agreement has been reached to let a group of mountain biking enthusiasts take over management of three trails in the Borders.
The deal has been made between Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) and the Tweed Valley Trails Association (TVTA).
The charity set up by mountain bike enthusiasts will take over the unauthorised trails in Caberston Forest near Innerleithen.
FLS said the deal was the "first of its kind" and would be on a pilot basis.
It hopes the move can help to tackle issues surrounding the rapid growth of the sport and a resulting rise in the number of unauthorised trails being built in forests.
"The Tweed Valley is a Mecca for mountain biking and has a long history of world class riding for all abilities," said south Scotland region manager Sallie Bailey.
"We want to build on this and strengthen the links we already have with the mountain biking community.
"This yearly agreement is the first of its kind and will be run on a pilot basis.
"We've been highly impressed with the TVTA's genuine desire and professionalism to work with us to develop new approaches to trail management."
Under the agreement, the TVTA will adopt a number of existing unauthorised trails around the Caberston area as the forest is currently the most heavily used of the unofficial trail network.
Work will include generating independent funds to manage and maintain the trails using "best trail building practices available".
Neil Carnegie, of the TVTA, said: "Now world famous, the unofficial trail network in the Tweed Valley has exploded in size and popularity over recent years attracting visitors from around the world.
"We are delighted to see FLS embrace this growing resource and engage with the riding community through the TVTA to manage and improve the network of trails for local riders and visitors alike.
"It's been a long process to get here and we can't wait to get working on the ground, our tools into the dirt and start making a difference."