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New walking trails to further enhance Castlewellan Forest Park

Sep
12
2014

The exploration of Castlewellan Forest Park is to be enhanced with the development of a series of new walk trails.  Totalling 12 kilometres, the new trail network will encompass many of the key points of interest within the Forest Park including Castlewellan Lake, the Annesley Gardens and Arboretum, the Cypress Pond, Mitchell’s Lake, the Moorish Tower and take in the iconic views from the summit of Slievenaslat.

The project has recently started and will see the replacement of the present walking trail network with a new series of trails which have been developed by Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland in partnership with Down District Council and Forest Service Northern Ireland.  The trail network was designed by renowned trail designer Dafydd Davis MBE following consultation with the local community and forest visitors.  The construction work will be carried out by local contractor Euro Services Ltd.

Cllr Billy Walker, Chairman of Down District Council enthusiastically stated "We are very excited about the forthcoming development of walk trails which further demonstrates the Council’s commitment to improving the outdoor recreation product within the area's forest estate. These trails will be an excellent resource for the local community and will assist the Council in its aim to be the Number One Tourist Destination in Ireland"

The walk trails will complement the recent restoration of the Castlewellan Peace Maze, the ongoing development in nearby Bunkers Hill and the highly successful Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails which have been visited over 35,000 times since their launch in May 2013.

Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland’s Product Development Manager, Clare Jones explains "The new trail network will make the best use of the present trails and places of interest within the forest by linking these through the construction of some new trail and the upgrade of some existing trails to create 5 looped walks.  New visitor focused interpretation and waymarking will enable people to confidently explore the forest."

Local walker Cahal King expressed his delight with the project, "I've had the joy of walking in Castlewellan Forest Park for many years now; of all the places I walk it is still the closest to my heart.  It’s an honour and a privilege to be able to contribute to this planning process, thereby helping ensure the project can maximise the walking potential within the Forest Park."

This project is in receipt of a conditional Letter of Offer from Down Rural Area Partnership under the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme and Down District Council.  For more information visit www.outdoorrecreationni.com

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