AN ORGANISATION is looking to rejuvenate mountain biking in the south of Scotland with an ambitious multi-million pound project.

And Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) – the agency responsible for managing Scotland’s forests – is looking to hear from the public on what changes could be made to attract more people to the region.

The organisation wants to secure £5 million of funding from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal to carry out work at some of its 7stanes sites.

The 7stanes are world-class mountain biking centres, with two in Peeblesshire – one at Glentress and one near Innerleithen.

Over half a million visitors try out some of the 400 km of trails every year but at 20 years of age, the 7stanes are in need of a “refresh and rejuvenation”.

The redevelopment will have huge potential for tourism and will be a major contributor to the area’s recovery from the impact of the winter’s devastating storms, according to a FLS spokesperson.

John Dougan, FLS’ south region manager, said: “Mountain biking is at the heart of Scottish tourism in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway and it’s taken a bit of a hit as a result of the winter’s storms.

“We’re working hard on making storm-damaged forests safe and reinstating the many trails that have been affected. Most of our sites have the bulk of their routes back open and we’ll continue to make gradual progress on the remaining really badly damaged areas.

“However, we’re also seeing this point in time as an opportunity to reflect, and, with the support of the the Borderlands to come back bigger and better, with a strong focus on evolving and improving the 7stanes brand and offer, we think, for example that there is plenty of scope to diversify and attract more families and multi interest visitor groups. This has the potential to be huge for tourism in the area and we’re looking to get as much input into our thinking on this as possible to make sure we make the most of this opportunity.”

FLS is keen to hear people’s views about what sort of offer they’d like the 7stanes to provide in the future and how to attract those who currently do not visit the area.

Anyone with an interest or opinions is invited to take part in the survey and help shape the vision for a new 7stanes.