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28 Free Guided Walks


There are no less than 28 free guided walks on offer across Northern Ireland on Sunday 2nd October as part of National Trails Day 2011.

In Fermanagh you can take a guided walk through Castle Archdale exploring the history of the estate and the role Castle Archdale had to play in World War II. There is also a family friendly scavenger hunt through the National Trust’s Florencecourt estate.

In the Mourne Mountains there will be an invigorating hike up Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh with National Trust warden David Thompson and a guided walk through the heath and bog land of Curraghard and Millstone Quarry. There is also a guided bird watching walk through Tollymore Forest Park with RSPB bird expert Adam McClure and a family friendly treasure trail through the forest and woodland of the Silent Valley.

There will be an opportunity to soak up the culture of the Mournes with a guided Irish Heritage walk around Lough Shannagh as well as a chance to lend a hand and join the Mourne Mountains upland path restoration project for a day. Participants here will learn about the latest trail building techniques and other practical conservational skills with no previous knowledge of path building necessary. 

For those who fancy a stroll near Belfast there will be a guided walking tour of the Lagan Canal begining at the Lough Keeper’s Cottage where walkers will gain an insight into the everyday life of a lock keeper along this historic canal.

All these free guided events are taking place as part of National Trails Day 2011. Now in it’s forth year this cross-border celebration of local trails is continuing to grow from strength to strength.

Aideen Exley from the Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN) explains, “Last year we were delighted to see around 1,500 people taking part in free events on local trails across Northern Ireland. However, with everything from guided canoeing trips to historic walking tours and mountain biking skills courses to equestrian trail rides, this year’s National Trails Day is set to raise the bar even higher. We want people to try something different this year and discover the wealth of opportunities that these local trails offer us right on our doorstep.”

Aideen continued, “National Trails Day also highlights the great work of the organisations which develop and maintain these stunning trails and aims to educate trail users on ongoing sustainability issues surrounding the trails. We are incredibly fortunate to have such a variety of trails through our local forests, mountains, rivers and lakes so we hope that people will take this great opportunity to learn about the history of their local trails as well as how we can all conserve these great resources for future generations.”

There are 48 free activity events planned on trails throughout Northern Ireland as part of National Trails Day 2011. This celebratory day has been funded by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, SportNI and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and a full list of all the free events taking place across Northern Ireland and indeed the Republic of Ireland are on featured on the dedicated website www.nationaltrailsday.co.uk.