“AMBITIOUS” plans to create a path along the length of the River Tweed have received a funding boost of nearly £3 million.

The ‘Destination Tweed’ project would see the creation of a 113-mile trail running from Moffat, in Dumfriesshire, to Berwick-upon-Tweed where the river meets the sea.

The proposals, led by environmental charity Tweed Forum, have gained National Lottery Heritage Fund support in the shape of a grant of £2.9 million

Scottish Borders Council leader Euan Jardine – who hailed the announcement as a “major step forward” – said the project could be “completely transformational” for the region.

It is hoped the path will help deliver “significant” economic, environmental, educational and social benefits along the route.

Tweed Forum director Luke Comins said: “Destination Tweed will deliver a unique, quality-focused tourism experience that conserves, connects and promotes attractions and communities in and around the entire length of the river, from Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway, through the Scottish Borders and into North Northumberland.

“It’s an ambitious project that will respect and showcase the Tweed’s rich natural, built and cultural assets and which has the potential to bring huge economic, cultural, environmental and social benefits to the area. We’re extremely grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for this significant grant award.”

Caroline Clark, the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s director for Scotland, said: “The Tweed has a huge place in the heritage of the south of Scotland and north Northumberland. Thanks to National Lottery players, our funding will support Tweed Forum to deliver a project that will further bring together and benefit communities from source to sea.

“Destination Tweed offers a real vision for connecting communities along the length of the river, supporting the local environment, infrastructure and economy. A lot of thought has been put into planning a programme that will see investment, development and activities that will benefit and engage those living alongside the Tweed, and also support and grow the tourism sector which is a vital component of the local economy.”

It is hoped the “multi-faceted” Destination Tweed initiative will see an investment of around £23 million in the area.

It will be delivered in stages and once full funding is confirmed, Tweed Forum expects the project will take five years to complete.

Mr Jardine, a Conservative Galashiels councillor, said: “We are very excited by this announcement as it represents a major step forward for the Destination Tweed project.

“We believe that this significant project, which makes the most of the River Tweed as a national tourism asset, will be completely transformational for our area.

“The funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund is extremely welcome and I would like to thank Tweed Forum for leading this project in collaboration with key strategic partners such as Scottish Borders Council.”