NEW INVESTMENT FOR PATHS, TRAILS, AND ACTIVE LEISURE HUB ON NEWCASTLETON’S HOLM HILL
New active leisure plans in Newcastleton become a reality thanks to substantial investment from funders and the local community.
The next phase of Newcastleton’s Holm Hill, the Active Leisure Strategy, gets underway with a £500k investment from partners; UK Gov’s Shared Prosperity Fund £284k, South of Scotland Enterprise Ambitions Fund £100k, Scottish Government’s Strengthening Communities Fund £40k and Newcastleton Community Trusts own funds which will all contribute to this initial first phase of the community Active Leisure Strategy.
This phase provides funding for old paths to be reopened and creation of new mountain bike trails to complement the existing 7Stanes mountain bike network at Newcastleton. Following feedback from the community the new paths and trails will, in part, be incorporated into the new forest planting at Coulter Syke. This new planting replaces the old Boosie Wood which previously dominated parts of the community.
This phase also allows panoramic community viewpoints to be enhanced; a new Memorial Garden providing space to create a small woodland overlooking the community will be created as well as enhanced car parking and improved access. Studies will also be undertaken to ensure rare and varied biodiversity is safeguarded.
In addition, funds allow for preparatory capital works to get the site ready for a major refurbishment to upgrade existing facilities into multi-purpose pavilion providing enhanced facilities to accommodate large events from cycling and mountain biking to weddings.
Greg Cuthbert, Chair of Newcastleton Community Trust said:
“We are locked in our small parcel of land and want to create a better, more sustainable life for our grandchildren, owning land and assets enable us to do that. These investments continue to follow a sustainable model; providing enhanced local facilities for our community whilst attract others to enjoy our landscape and heritage. It is a privilege to be able to share what we have with visitors; these investments will attract more to visit stay and play and in turn increase our economic viability and inward investment from others. It is the next step of our journey and we are thrilled to be starting it.”
Jane Morrison- Ross, Chief Executive of South of Scotland Enterprise said:
“Alongside our partners, we have ambitious plans to encourage active travel across the South of Scotland, including making our region the leading cycling destination in Scotland. The Holm Hill project in Newcastleton will support this collective ambition for the South, encouraging local people to get active, and visitors to come to our wonderful region.”
Councillor Scott Hamilton, SBC’s Executive Member for Community and Business Development, said:
“Scottish Borders Council is delighted to able to award funding along with the UK Government for this exciting new development project for Newcastleton. The creation of new pathways and cycle routes will prove to be a valuable asset for the health and wellbeing of the local community and will encourage more visitors into the area to support local businesses.
“This investment adds to the existing 7stanes MTB trails and highlights the ambition to ensure the Borders is the European Capital for Mountain Biking.”
IMAGE: Ariel view of Holm Hill
Newcastleton Community Trust Greg Cuthbert 07812 666 062 or Barbara Elborn 07989 968 756
In Autumn 2020 Newcastleton Community Council negotiated sale of 750 acres of land known as Holm Hill from Buccleuch’s Borders Estate to the Newcastleton and District Community Trust (NDCT) marking an exciting future for Newcastleton. Community ownership of land ensures local resilience and is integral to regeneration and sustainable development in Scotland.
The Community buy-out enables the community to create a bigger, brighter, sustainable future, which include farming, with strategic plans to develop new leisure and renewable sectors spreading the benefits of community ownership to everyone who lives in the community.
This project is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local businesses, and people and skills. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectus