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The British Horse Society

Tyne Esk Trails Project

Equestrian Tourism Boost for Midlothian

The British Horse Society in Lothian, in partnership with the European Community Tyne Esk Leader + 2000 -2006 Programme and Scottish Natural Heritage, is to promote over 50 miles of equestrian trails in Midlothian in a bid to improve access to the countryside and boost the local economy by encouraging equestrian tourism.

The project, which is due to be completed by October 2005, will cost a total of £26k. Just under £12k is to be awarded from Tyne Esk Leader + and a similar sum from Scottish Natural Heritage. The balance will be met by payments in kind and from voluntary contributions from BHS Scotland, BHS Lothian and the Midlothian Riders Access Group (Midrag).

The horse trails will comprise four circular routes, open to cyclists and walkers as well, each between 10 to 15 miles long, exploring a wide variety of glorious Midlothian countryside and taking in sites of historic and natural interest.

Ruth Briggs, Scottish Natural Heritage’s area manager for the Lothians, is pleased to be part of the group developing the trails: ‘With the Scottish Outdoor Access Code due to be published later this year, we are helping to extend routes available for walkers, riders and cyclists. We hope these trails will be liked and used by people in Midlothian and visitors.”

One trail is to be based on the Esk Valley, another in the countryside between Rosewell and Carrington; the third will be a circular route from Vogrie with the fourth encompassing higher country near Gladhouse Reservoir. Waymarked in accordance with Midlothian Council access policy and Scotways, with areas for trailer and lorry parking identified, the trails can be linked to provide all day rides with many variations in length and route available. The routes will be promoted by The British Horse Society (BHS) Lothian using accompanying comprehensive and colourful brochure and maps.

Project officer Mrs Pip Peat of The BHS Lothian committee said: “This is an innovative scheme which will benefit both local riders and visitors. There are no dedicated equestrian trails in Midlothian so now riders, cyclists and walkers will feel welcome to enjoy the landscape, history and culture.

“Whether people bring their own horses or hire from local establishments, we have identified ‘horse friendly’ accommodation and stopping off points so undoubtedly this project will bring economic benefit to the area.

“We would like to thank the Midlothian Council access team and local land owners and farmers for their enthusiasm and involvement in making this positive initiative possible.”

Archie Pacey, Chair, Tyne/Esk Leader+ Local Action Group added; "Tyne/Esk Leader+ Local Action Group will follow with keen interest the progress of this excellent project, which should provide much enhanced access to the Midlothian countryside, not just for equestrian enthusiasts but also for walkers and cyclists. This example of inclusivity deserves encouragement. With all concerned pulling together, the economic benefits, too, should be appreciable.”


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