2021 to present

  • Tarras Valley Nature Reserve visitor infrastructure plan: Following Langholm Initiative’s successful community purchase of part of Langholm Moor, the funder’s required the organisation to have a Visitor Infrastructure Plan. SUP successfully tendered to undertake the work and ran a community consultation, key stakeholder interviews and desk-based research over a period of 8 weeks. (2021).
  • Place in the Biosphere: The communities of Borgue Peninsula, Wigtownshire Moors and Strinchar Valley were invited to share how physical and human aspects of location interrelate and interact. They analysed field-names, captured the landscape through poetry, created virtual reconstructions of castles, revealed complex geology… Watch ‘People and Place in the Biosphere’ at https://youtu.be/pQEbl7IKsOU to find out more. (2019-2021).
  • CivTech6 Challenge: In partnership with the John Muir Trust, Langholm Initiative, SoSE and The Scottish Government, we submitted a challenge to the sixth round of Civtech and were successful. A company called Ginger Land is developing a solution to our challenge which is “How can we use technology to help land owners make informed land-use decisions and increase carbon capture?”. The solution will be demonstrated at an event in Edinburgh in February.
  • Wild Seasons: The Southern Uplands Partnership has been promoting the idea of “nature-based tourism” since it commissioned an audit of nature-based attractions in the Borders back in 2003 which was followed by an audit of the whole of South Scotland. Further work looked at how these sites could be clustered and in 2009, SUP was funded by SNH to try establishing a working cluster in the lower Nith Estuary. This project subsequently grew into Wild Seasons which was awarded LEADER funding in 2012 and the project grew in scale and ambition extending into the Scottish Borders, developing on-line capability and adding value to local festivals such as Wild Spring. We also developed and ran a successful Wild Film Festival. While nature-based tourism has now been mainstreamed as part of the National VisitScotland strategy, financial support in South Scotland has reduced and progress has stalled. SUP is currently working to try to revive the initiative.Thanks to funding from NatureScot, SUP produced a report in 2021 looking at the current (post-covid) potential of “nature based” tourism, for which we used a very broad definition, including cultural, experiential, agricultural and recreational along with nature-watching. It looks at the lessons learnt from Wild Seasons, and points out where the opportunities are as we move forward. The report is available to download here.    https://sup.org.uk/projects/wild-seasons/
  • What is Net Zero?: What is Net Zero? was a partnership with Visit Kelso funded as part of the Rural Communities Testing Change pilot scheme, SUP worked with Visit Kelso to raise awareness of the need to move to net zero carbon emissions. The short project ran two events with local businesses aimed at stimulating discussion and better understanding of the issues. The first event was addressed by Dr Martin Valenti of South of Scotland Enterprise, Alastair Cameron of Scotmas, Dr Kasha Jarosz of the Selkirk Community Energy project and Brian Middleton of Renew Green Energy. A second event took place in early 2022 aimed at local trades people.  https://sup.org.uk/projects/what-is-net-zero/
  • Recharge in Nature: This exciting partnership between SUP, NatureScot and Electrek Explorer was to deliver an app showing locations offering electric car recharging, plus offering suggestions for nearby places to experience nature. The Recharge in Nature project is a pilot covering the whole South of Scotland and part of NatureScot’s wider Green Recovery Nature Based Tourism Programme.
    The Southern Uplands Partnership is very proud to have been part of the awesome partnership that delivered the Electrek Explorer Recharge in Nature web app. Covering all things electric vehicle, electric bike and nature based… including, where to recharge, curated routes, places to stay, friendly cafes, and wildlife highlights to explore while your vehicle is charging.


  • Loch Ken Alive: Loch Ken Alive was a project delivered by the new Loch Ken Trust, which achieved charitable status in 2020 for its aim of improving the sustainability of Loch Ken and its surrounding communities. Loch Ken Alive built on the existing activities around the loch to make the most of all the amazing natural and cultural resources in the area. The project aimed to make Loch Ken one of the premier tourist destinations in Dumfries & Galloway, but in a sustainable way that harmonises with the existing communities. It was led by project officer Barney Fryer, who is employed by the Southern Uplands Partnership on behalf of the Loch Ken Trust and Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership. Barney and the Loch Ken Trust aim to work with all the communities who live, work or play at Loch Ken: ‘It is not just about what happens on the water, it is also about developing thriving communities around the loch.’  https://sup.org.uk/projects/loch-ken-alive/
  • Equestrian Tourism: Ride Scottish Borders – Scotland’s Horse Country: Ride Scotland’s Horse Country grew from the Tweed Trails/South of Scotland Countryside Trails project managed by Southern Uplands Partnership more than ten years ago. That project put in place 350 kms of waymarked routes suitable for equestrian use. These routes linked northern England with the existing Hawick Circular ride and went through to Biggar and as far as Ae in Dumfries and Galloway. Gowan Miller was employed as Ride Scottish Borders Project Coordinator from December 2017 until December October 2020 when funding ceased. The project sought to promote the region as a centre for riding holidays and worked to develop collaborative working and marketing based on the extensive network of local riding routes.This lovely video gives you a flavour of the project and the joy of riding in the Scottish Borders – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K7TyOzHcrQ&t=3sAll the accommodation businesses link into the trails and a solid network is developing, meaning visitors have more choice and can ride through the Borders on a network of routes. Route maps also provide skill-level guidance. Catering options during rides and at destinations are also highlighted, as are opportunities to visit attractions and events for family and friends for rest days during the rides. Ride Scottish Borders also won the Regional Thistle Awards run by VisitScotland as an example of the best in “collaborative tourism”. Thanks to NatureScot funding, SUP contracted Gowan Miller, Marianne Bailey and Kiersten Aram to undertake further development work looking at: a South Scotland equestrian network; a South of Scotland website; a Big Houses tour and a Festival of the Horse for 2022/3. The report on their work looks at how the Ride Scottish Borders approach can be extended across into Dumfries and Galloway and includes proposals for a refreshed Festival of the Horse and a “Big Houses” riding trail. The report is available on the Publications page.For more information follow the Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/ridescottishborders

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