EXPANSION plans for Glentress have been handed a £1 million boost from the Scottish Government.

With planning permission already in place, the ambitious future of the outdoor centre near Peebles took a step further forward with the Holyrood funding announcement.

The Scottish Government investment will go towards the creation of 16 kilometres of new mountain biking trails, multi-use paths and other infrastructure improvements.

Officials say the funding has the potential to generate an extra £1 million for the local economy each year, employ up to 60 people, increase visitors from 300,000 to 330,000 and help secure £10.7 million of private sector funding.

Sallie Bailey, regional manager with Forest Enterprise Scotland said: “This is great news for the Tweed Valley and the Scottish Borders as a whole.

“Work is now in progress to take forward these exciting new developments at Glentress and in the next two years we will see a real step change in what we offer visitors to the area.

The planned improvements are part of a wider £11.75 million tourism development plan for the Borders' attraction.

The project, which includes a 56 eco-cabin development, is being managed in a partnership between Forest Enterprise Scotland and Forest Holidays which is providing the private sector investment.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Tourism is one of our most important industries, showcasing Scotland as a great place to live, work, study and invest in so I’m delighted this support will draw thousands of new visitors to the south of Scotland.

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said: “This is great news for the south of Scotland, an area where there is huge potential for tourism and the partnership project is an excellent example of public and private sectors working together to strengthen Scotland’s position as a global tourism destination."