Davagh Forest to benefit from major investment from Council

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DAVAGH Forest has been earmarked by Cookstown District Council as a key signature project for 2012.

The picturesque forest, located in the west of the District is to benefit from over £400,000 of investment which will result in the establishment of up to 20km of walking, cycling and mountain bike trails.

Architrail, led by Phil Saxena, world renowned for designing trails for the Beijing Olympics and the Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup has spent the last number of months finalising an exciting and challenging trail design which followed on from an initial concept plan for the forest which was drawn up in 2009.

The trails will be of varying design to accommodate a range of users, including green, blue and red grade trails. The green trail will be most suited to walkers, families and beginner cyclists. The blue trail will be a step up from the green and will be slightly more challenging and will be most suited to walkers, runners and mountain bikers. While the red trail will have lots of technical trail features to challenge the most experienced mountain bikers. The red trail will also descend on two different routes to help vary the trail and provide an exciting experience for all those seeking a bit more adventurous.

This project is being delivered by Cookstown District Council in partnership with the Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN).

Chairman of Cookstown District Council, Cllr Sean Clarke, commented, ‘It has been fantastic to see how the project has evolved since its inception in 2009. The feedback from the participants at the recent consultation event has really helped to shape the type of trails that will be established. The interest shown in this project demonstrates that there is a real appetite for outdoor activity products and Davagh Forest is the perfect location’.

Rick McKee, from Trailbadger, an organisation established to promote and provide information on mountain bike trails across Ireland participated in the consultation on the proposed trail design and later commented, ‘An absolute belter of a trail network proposed for Davagh and something that will ultimately transform the area and be a flagship project for Northern Ireland’.  

Speaking on the Cookstown District Councils financial investment, Adrian McCreesh, Acting Chief Executive, stated, ‘Approximately £240,000 has been secured from SWARD (South West Action for Rural Development) through the Rural Development Programme with Council providing the remaining funding for the project. The level of funding which has been allocated to this project demonstrates Councils commitment of providing a product that has been designed to a high standard with the aim of attracting visitors from Ireland and Great Britain and has the potential to host significant regional and national events’.

Plans of the agreed trail design will be on display in the Burnavon Arts & Cultural Centre until the 14th March 2012. Information will also be available on www.cookstown.gov.uk and on facebook.com/davagh

For anyone seeking more information on the new trails development at Davagh Forest please contact Denise Campbell, Cookstown District Council on 028 8676 9949.