ULSTER Unionist Party Assembly Member for Mid-Ulster, Sandra Overend, has welcomed the opening of Davagh Forest Trails, located outside Cookstown, and has delighted in the potential rewards the attraction will have for the local economy.
The extensive network of mountain biking trails are expected to attract upwards of 10,000 visitors in their first year of operation.
Sandra said, “The trails, which open on Wednesday 10 April, will be a fantastic addition to the tourist attractions in Mid-Ulster. Situated in the heart of the Sperrin Mountains between Cookstown and Draperstown, these trails will give a welcome boost to local mountain bikers and cyclists from around the country and from further afield. Work has been ongoing for some time, and the opening has been eagerly anticipated by locals and many others from around Northern Ireland and further afield.”
“With these premium cycle paths at our front door, the people of Mid-Ulster have been given a real gift. The trails have been left dormant for so many years and these improvements will have a real effect on encouraging the people of Mid-Ulster to get out and cycle. This comes at a time when we see more and more cyclists on our roads, following the success of our cyclists at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Bradley Wiggins’ success at the Tour de France 2012.”
Sandra, who is also the Ulster Unionist Party Spokesperson for the Economy continued, “I myself am a keen cyclist, and having previously cycled at Davagh with my family, I look forward to bringing them back to take advantage of the new facilities in the near future, and with more than ten kilometres of trails specifically designed to be family friendly, I’m sure many other local families will be doing likewise.
“Previously Davagh Forest Park only had disused walking trails littered throughout, which cyclists converted into basic cycle trails. With the help of Cookstown District Council, Outdoor Recreation NI (Formerly CAAN) local representatives and the Northern Ireland Mountain Biking Alliance, this development will be a real lift for the forest itself and the local area.
“The opening of these facilities is a huge and much needed boost for tourism in Mid-Ulster, and, if expected visitor numbers are anything to go by, will see a big increase in visitors to the area, which will also bring benefits for local businesses.
“Local cycling and sports goods retailers in particular are well placed to take advantage of this development, and I would encourage Cookstown council to give them the support that they deserve.”