THE latest stretch of former Tweed Valley railway to be turned into a multi-use pathway was officially opened this week.

Following the success of the trail between Peebles and Innerleithen which has been used by thousands of cyclists, walkers and horseriders since opening six years ago, the trail has been extended all the way down to Walkerburn.

This week Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam officially opened the extension of the Tweed Valley Railway multi-use path.

And she also cut the ribbon on a new GO e-bike hub in Innerleithen.

Shona told us: “The Tweed Valley Railway multi-use path is already hugely popular but this extension improves an already excellent facility to allow local people and visitors to get active and enjoy our fantastic area in a safe environment.

“The opening of the SEStran GO e-Bike Hub is an equally exciting project which will aim to provide health and environmental benefits.

“Both facilities add to the already impressive offering we have in the Borders for cycling, and we hope in future it can be extended at both ends.”

The new £500,000 extension, which was funded by Transport Scotland, Scottish Borders Council and the Sustrans Scotland’s Places for Everyone programme, is just under two-miles long.

And now allows for safe cycling, walking, riding and running all the way between Walkerburn and Peebles.

Transport councillor Gordon Edgar hopes the extension will encourage even more people to get out and get healthy.

He said: "I am delighted the Tweed Valley Railway multi-use path is now completed, and hope it encourages more people to jump on their bike or pull on their walking shoes and get active.

"The council has worked with a number of partners on various multi-use path projects across the Borders in recent years, and we must thank Sustrans and SEStran for the significant support for both the path extension and e-Bike Hub projects.”

Tim Aeberli from Sustrans Scotland hopes the extension will appeal to school pupils.

He said: "Sustrans Scotland is delighted to support the latest extension that will provide a safe and convenient active travel link between Walkerburn and Innerleithen through our Places for Everyone programme.

"We are especially pleased to see children using the new route to access primary schools in the area."

The new GO e-Bike Hub in Innerleithen provides electric bikes for hire to the community.

And the Tweeddale Youth Action initiative - which is supported by SEStran - also offers electric cargo bikes for businesses.

Tweeddale Youth Action manager David Hodson explained: “We are greatly looking forward to working in partnership with SEStran.

“Introducing Go e-Bike into our Bike Punks project will enable us to engage, teach and train young people across Tweeddale in bicycle repair and maintenance skills.

“We are supporting an ever-growing industry of cycling and tourism within the Tweed Valley and creating much needed training and employment opportunities for young people.

"We look forward to exciting times ahead.”

For Jim Grieve of SEStran, he hopes the new bike hub and path extension will encourage more commuters to ditch their cars.

He told us: "GO e-Bike is a great way to build on our other active travel work, introducing more people to cycling as a viable, fun transport choice for work and leisure.”

A similar multi-use path between Peebles and Leadburn is due to be officially opened later this spring.