Communities and local businesses in the south of Scotland are being encouraged to make their views known on the development of new plans for Forestry and Land Scotland’s (FLS) mountain bike trail centres - known as the 7stanes.

The organisation is looking to build on the successful delivery of the Glentress Masterplan by setting out the future of the remaining 7stanes destinations in a move FLS hopes will deliver an achievable blueprint that will guide future rural sustainable tourism.

Newcastleton and Dalbeattie will be the first sites to be looked at, with Glentrool and Kirroughtree to follow next year.

The aim is to transform what are currently predominantly mountain biking centres into more accessible, multi-user destinations that will appeal to a wider interest group – such as walkers and horse riders – as well as to families and disabled visitors while continuing to offer an excellent mountain biking product.

The proposals will also consider how best to maximise opportunities for increased community, commercial, and public body investment that will both support regional tourism and boost the local economy.

Drop-in sessions for the Newcastleton redevelopment have taken place, but the feedback questionnaire and concept map for Newcastleton are also online. Dates for similar sessions focussing on Dalbeattie will be advertised in March.

FLS national visitor services manager said: “Working together to better integrate our offer will help set a sustainable and considered strategy for the future. It will also generate more opportunities such as the provision of accommodation and the development of retail and catering outlets, so we believe there is plenty to get excited about.

“Our initial ideas will be developed with Borderland funding, but achieving the best results for the longer term will need a collaborative effort with communities, businesses, government, and public bodies.

"We believe that’s the best way to create an achievable blueprint that will guide future rural sustainable tourism investment to improve the economy in the south of Scotland.”

The upcoming consultations are designed to give individuals, local groups and interested stakeholders the opportunity to see, hear and feedback on the proposals FLS has for the sites.

Stuart Chalmers continued: “This stage is about capturing ideas collaboratively to allow us to develop a concept that delivers on the scale of ambition suited to local communities.

“We are hoping the workshops will allow everyone to have their say and share their views and concerns at an early stage, and to see if there are other themes we should explore. Once the concept is agreed, more detailed survey work and analysis will be done.”