Celebrating the International Appalachian Trail in Causeway Coast and Glens

Celebrating the International Appalachian Trail in Causeway Coast and Glens

An event has been held at Gortmore View Point along the stunning Bishop’s Road near Limavady to officially launch the next phase of the International Appalachian Trail Ulster-Ireland.

The initiative to enhance the trail is part of a co-operation project within the Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 and is part funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the European Union.

The Causeway Coast and Glens section begins just south of Glenshane, winding its way towards Dungiven before proceeding through the North Sperrins towards Binevenagh and Castlerock. It continues east along the Causeway Coast Way to reach Ballycastle where it turns south to follow the Moyle Way taking in Breen Wood, Slieveanorra and Glenariff Forest Park to meet Waterfoot.

Commenting on the project, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Councillor Richard Holmes said: “Causeway Coast and Glens Local Action Group (LAG) in partnership with LAG groups from other council areas have worked together to develop and promote this renowned walking trail. Their efforts have resulted in significant improvements including updated information panels and improved facilities  which will enhance the experience of our visitors who come here to enjoy our outdoor spaces and breathtaking scenery like we have here at Gortmore.

“I’m very pleased to see this extensive project completed and I have no doubt it will encourage more walkers and outdoor enthusiasts to explore our part of this fantastic trail which enjoys global recognition.”

Some of the works carried out to date include

  • Upgrade of trail at Benbradagh mountain
  • Upgrade of trail from Donald’s Hill to Temain Road with stiles, way-markers and drains
  • Creation of new off-road walking between Cam and Drumrammer Forest
  • Upgrade of trail furniture at Gortmore and Avish on the Bishop’s Road
  • Improvements to coastal path between Portrush and Portstewart
  • Upgrade of path on lands to east of Giant’s Causeway
  • Upgrade of trail furniture between Dunseverick and Portbradden
  • New trail furniture on Croaghan Way section

The Ulster Ireland section of the International Appalachian Trail as a whole is approximately 302miles / 485km in length and runs from west Donegal to Larne passing through six council areas. It starts at the spectacular Slieve League cliffs, passes through Glencolmcille, traverses the Bluestack Mountains in Co Donegal before crossing into Co. Tyrone. Here it picks up the Ulster Way, taking in the Sperrins, the stunning Causeway Coast and the Glens of Antrim.

LAG Chairperson Dermot Nicholl said: “A huge amount of work has gone into upgrading the route along the IAT Ulster-Ireland trail to become one that visitors from all over the world will enjoy, either as a short scenic walk or as a longer walking experience.

We’re proud of Causeway Coast and Glens’ part in this international route, from the spectacular Binevenagh Mountain, across our world famous Causeway Coast and on into the Glens of Antrim.”

A significant marketing campaign will coincide with these trail works, promoting the walk to audiences across America, as well as in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, incorporating videos, photography and offers from local businesses.

DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA commented, “I am delighted that through the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 Co-operation scheme, my Department has provided £106,263 towards the project costs of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council phase of the Ulster chapter of the International Appalachian Trial.  The cross border project which has resulted in significant improvements across the entire route from West Donegal to Antrim will provide a quality walking experience attracting local and out of state visitors, providing a much need boost to the local economy.

I congratulate Causeway Coast and Glens Local Action Group in developing and delivering against their rural strategy for the benefit of the rural community in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council area.”

Local businesses close to the trail are being encouraged to get involved in the IAT fever by offering experiences for visitors or teaming up with other local providers to provide standout packages. To be involved or for more information, please contact [email protected].

For more information on the IAT Ulster-Ireland, visit www.iatulsterireland.com.

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