Minister visits Davagh Forest trail site

RURAL Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has said the proposed multi-purpose trail to be developed within Davagh Forest will become one of the “premier locations” for recreational activities.

During a visit to the site on Tuesday, Minister O’Neill said her department was keen to “realise the full potential that forests offer” following the launch of a ‘Recreation and Social Use of Forests Strategy’.

“The proposed multi–purpose trail at Davagh Forest will provide a good example of how we can promote the recreational use of our forests for the benefit of all visitors and in line with Forest Service’s strategy,” the Minister said.

“Working together with Cookstown District Council, this project will demonstrate my Department’s commitment to working in partnership with organisations and local government to secure a more diverse range of facilities and attractions in our Forests, for the benefit of our rural communities and for the enjoyment of present and future generations.”

The Minister added: “With the financial support of my Department’s Rural Development Programme the Davagh Forest Trails project will provide one of the premier locations in Ireland for recreational off-road activities and will accommodate a wide range of outdoor recreational users.”

The trails are receiving funding support of £240,000 through the Department’s Rural Development Programme. Cookstown District Council is also providing support of £89,000 towards the project.

When complete, the trails will be suitable for walking and mountain biking and Cookstown District Council anticipate that the project has the potential to attract approximately 12,000 recreational visitors per year.

Chairman of Cookstown District Council, Cllr Sean Clarke, who met with the Minister during her visit said: “I am delighted that this new key tourism initiative for Davagh Forest is progressing after many years of hard work by Cookstown District Council and others. The Trails once developed will add to the tourism product within the council which will attract additional visitors to the area’.”