The head of the Ettrick Valley is one of the remotest parts of the area covered by the Development Company. The road to it is a six mile long single track cul-de-sac; it’s often cut off by flooding and is well over 20 miles from the nearest services in Selkirk.
It is, however, only about eight miles from Moffat and an old drove road (which is a Right of Way) leads over the hills from the end of the public road to the A708 in the Moffat Water valley at Capplegill. This route was used by traffic until the end of the 1950s but has since fallen into disrepair.
This project explored the possibility of re-establishing this route as a means of giving the residents of the upper Ettrick Valley access to services in Moffat, and providing easier access for visitors to the valley. Furthermore, improved road links between the upper Ettrick and Moffat – with its proximity to the main Carlisle to Glasgow motorway – would make the area a far more attractive proposition for potential businesses and residents and could help reverse the population decline in this area. Forestry is a major industry in the upper Ettrick Valley and a possible timber extraction route that provided a quick link to the motorway network would also be very attractive to the timber industry.
A feasibility study was therefore commissioned from a consultant specialising in hill road construction to look at possible low-grade routes over Bodesbeck Law, the hill that separates the Ettrick Valley from the Moffat Water. This study concluded that a number of routes were feasible, and established that the Planning and Roads authorities of both Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway Councils were, in principle, supportive. However there is currently no funding to take the project further and it remains an aspiration at this stage.