A new tourism trail is encouraging people to explore the beautiful rural landscapes of Causeway Coast and Glens.
The ‘Picture This’ initiative was officially launched on Tuesday 21st September at Swann’s Bridge, Bellarena.
The trail, which links eight sites across the borough, was created by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council in partnership with the Causeway Coast and Glens Local Action Group via the Rural Development Programme.
The project includes the installation of a large bronze metal frame at each scenic site. These invite the visitor to frame their experience and change their perspective by promoting the road less travelled through the Causeway Coast and Glens.
The Mayor for Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Richard Holmes, said: “Our area is blessed with fantastic scenery and rural landscapes. In recent times, so many of us have realised just how special this place is, and the beauty we have on our own doorstep. I hope that local people and our visitors will explore this trail from Cushendall to Burnfoot to experience our rich scenery and natural heritage.
“The development of the Picture This trail recognises the importance of rural tourism. We want to develop sustainability, reduce the impact at congested locations and spread the benefit of the visitor economy into our rural areas.”
To complement the trail, a new map has been produced featuring over 70 rural tourism businesses, including accommodation, activities, tour guides, bars and restaurants. By showcasing these ‘Picture This’ partners, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council wants to highlight what visitors can see and do along the way as they seek out the frames. Itineraries are also available with helpful suggestions for route-planning, to ensure they make the most of their time in the destination.
Dermot Nicholl, Chair of the Causeway Coast and Glens Local Action Group added: “This project was funded under the Co-operation scheme and I would like to say how delighted we are with the completed works at all eight locations.
“The origin of this project stems from Estonia, where similar Picture Frames have been used for several years to attract tourists to the area of South Estonia. This has proved to be very successful for our friends there and has seen tourism soar in rural areas.”
The Picture This trail will be featured in out of home advertising at key sites throughout Northern Ireland while a digital promotional campaign will target both domestic and international visitors.
The project was part funded under Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the European Union.
Since the formation of the Causeway Coast and Glens Local Action Group in 2014, it has delivered almost £8m of funding to local rural areas through the Rural Development Programme.
Later this year, other DAERA funded projects will be launched in the area including the Lower Bann rivers project and improvements to the International Appalachian Trail.