WORKS on an exciting multi-million pound development near Peebles are finally set to begin after two years of coronavirus delays.

The ‘Glentress Masterplan’ includes 16km of new in-forest mountain bike trails in a bid to boost its standing as a major tourism destination.

And Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) said contractors would break ground on the long-awaited development on Monday (May 16).

Paul Andrews-Garth, FLS project manager, said: “After long delays due to COVID, we’re finally getting going and it’s exciting to see things happening on the ground.

“Over the course of the next few months, we will be constructing a new activity area and new trails and trail features.

“We’ll also be bringing Glentress up to national and international race specifications that will make Glentress an attractive option as a venue for future events. We’ll also be expanding the upper car park and constructing a new access road and later in the year will refurbish and strengthen the Peel bridge and adding four new crossing bridges at various points.

“We appreciate that it has been a long wait for everyone and it’s great to be able to roll our sleeves up and finally get on with delivering the Masterplan.”

Glentress Forest is already a key component of the region’s tourism offering, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors.

The project is expected to bring 300,000 people to the site and inject around £1 million into the local economy each year.

Around 60 jobs are expected to be created through the construction phase.

Mr Andrew-Garth said that he expects the works during “a busy few months” to be completed without having to close off any areas of the site.

However, there will be some restrictions in place for visitors.

The upper car park will be closed off, a two-way traffic system will be in place and safety signage and detours will be in place on the accessible trails.