Vision to turn River Tweed into major tourist destination through £20million project
Ambitious plans to create a world-class long-distance route based around the River Tweed have been unveiled.
The ‘Destination Tweed’ project is being developed by Tweed Forum in collaboration with Scottish Borders Council (SBC), Northumberland County Council and other partners.
It is estimated that the total project cost could be £20million and could provide a shared-use trail stretching from beyond the source of the Tweed above Moffat to the river mouth at Berwick.
Tweed Forum has made a funding application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for almost £3million, and it is hoped that the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal will also provide financial support of £11million.
In addition, SBC executive committee is being recommended to allocate almost £175,000
Coun Mark Rowley, SBC’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “The idea to use the River Tweed as the basis for an ambitious and far-reaching tourism destination, beyond just the riverbank, has been an ambition of many people for a number of years.
“We have now reached a point where there is a significant opportunity to take it to the next stage thanks to the funding that may be available.
“The Tweed is famed for its salmon fishing and its catchment characterises much of the Borders’ landscape. With traditional rural industries such as fisheries and farming are increasingly fragile and tourism has to be an even more important part of the future.
“This project would build on the outstanding natural, built and cultural heritage and visitor attractions along its banks to attract significant additional numbers of visitors to the Borders area.”
The vision is for the trail and visitor experience to include a digital smart phone audio trail which would include tours, music, images, video, augmented reality and geo-mapping.
Luke Comins, director of Tweed Forum, said: “The Tweed is an incredible natural and cultural asset that is largely off the radar to many in the UK and beyond. This project will change that and create a journey from source to sea that will showcase the beauty of the river and connect up the myriad houses, castles, towns and tell the rich and varied story that is Tweed.”