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Innovative Project Celebrates the Sperrins


An exciting new initiative celebrating the history, heritage and beauty of the Sperrins area has been launched this week by DARD Minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA.

The ‘Sperrins Heritage Trails’ is an innovative portfolio of projects that combine traditional and modern mediums specifically designed to help visitors and outdoor enthusiasts to the Sperrins learn more about the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Facilitated by the Sperrins Gateway Landscape Partnership (SGLP), the package will also encourage new sightseers to avail of the wide variety of locations and activities the Sperrins have to offer including trail walks, beauty spots and historic sites.

Using funding from a variety of sources including Heritage Lottery Fund, Rural Development Programme (2007-13)/DARD, NIEA and Landfill Communities Fund, SGLP has been able to create a bespoke programme that comprises:

Speaking at the launch, Minister O’Neill said:

“A key strength of the Rural Development Programme delivered through LEADER is the ability to support communities in their efforts to enhance their local environment and enrich their rural way of life, and I’m delighted therefore that Drapers’Towns Partnership was able to avail of £100,000 funding through the RDP.

“This project facilitated the community in working with what nature has provided in order to sustain a way of life not only for themselves and their families but for generations to come.” 

The Minister continued: “The new heritage trails and improvements to existing ones will contribute positively to the ongoing development of rural communities in the Sperrins area by helping to ensure that the natural, cultural and built heritage are not only well cared for and safeguarded, but will also contribute to the local rural economy by attracting tourists to the region.” 

Fiona Bryant, SGLP Manager, said:

“This initiative is the result of years of consultation, negotiation, and goodwill between a wide range of stakeholders and funders including the local residents, landowners and statutory agencies.

“We are delighted with the final result and believe it is a real reflection of just how much there is to see and do in the Sperrins area.

“The walks and trails are here to be used and we hope as many people as possible avail of them, take the time to read and enjoy the numerous Information Boards and immerse themselves in the history of Draperstown through the audio app.”

Programme Details

Walking & Heritage Trails

The trails were delivered in partnership with Magherafelt District Council with the ground works being undertaken by participants from the ‘Up for Work’ training and employment scheme operated by Network Personnel Ltd.

The trails cross privately owned land, common grazing areas and land managed by Forest Service on behalf of DARD. In all, eight recreational walking trails were upgraded or created and a further four heritage trails were upgraded and delivered.

The walking trails range from low level peaks and gardens to strenuous hill walks that boast an impressive range of terrain and scenery.

Full details can be found in the ‘Gateway to the Sperrins – A Guide for Walkers’ booklet.

Audio Trail App

Available for free via iTunes, Google Play or Windows Store, this app uses GPS technology to provide the user with a guided 40 minute tour of Draperstown.

The immersive, interactive experience combines audio and visual elements on 20 points of interest located throughout the village.

To avail of this facility simply:

‘Sperrins Heritage’ & ‘Gateway to the Sperrins’ Booklets

These free booklets are available from local Tourist Information Centres.  You can also download your free booklets here.

The booklets contain detailed information on the history and walking trails in the Sperrins area.

Sperrins Heritage contains historical backgrounds on Draperstown, Desertmartin, Sixtowns and Moneymore as well as the driving route for the area and a guide to the Audio Trail app.

Gateway to the Sperrins is packed with walking guides, maps and details on points of interest and historic locations within the Sperrins.

Information Panels

A total of 41 panels have been installed at numerous locations throughout the Draperstown, Desertmartin and Moneymore areas.

These panels give a valuable insight on a variety of topics including the history, heritage and geology of numerous sites of note in the wider Sperrins area.

For more information, click here.