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Gildernew launches North West Trail cycle route

1 November, 2007


Sinn Féin Minister for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has officially launched the "North West Trail" at an event held in the Alley Arts and Conference Centre, Strabane.

The eagerly awaited trail is a 326km signed circular cycle route that passes through counties Donegal, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Leitrim and Sligo in the North West of Ireland. Cyclists and pedestrians can enjoy a wide variety of scenic landscapes, dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean, and picturesque rural towns and villages. The route utilises quiet country roads and passes through the main towns of Enniskillen, Sligo, Donegal, Lifford, Strabane and Omagh.

The project received £475,062 funding from the EU INTERREG IIIA Programme through the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister said:

"I am delighted to officially launch the North West Trail as today's event marks the culmination of a lot of hard work and commitment not only by the officers of Sustrans but also by the members of the North West Trail Steering Committee.

"The North West Trail provides tourists and local communities with an opportunity to travel along quiet country roads, forest trails and riverside paths. It winds its way through the beautiful countryside of Lifford, Barnesmore Gap, along the beach at Rossnowlagh, on through Bundoran, Sligo and Leitrim, back through Belcoo, Enniskillen and onto Omagh before returning here to Strabane.

"I am confident the North West Trail will act as a magnet to cyclists and pedestrians from both the local community and further afield. The Trail should encourage more people to leave the car behind and it has improved the safety for the growing number of local people who now prefer two wheels to four both for leisure and to get to work. The cycle tourism generated as a result of the development of the Trail will benefit rural communities, pubs, village shops, visitor attractions and accommodation providers along its length."

The project was developed by a consortium of six local authorities, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal County Councils, Fermanagh, Strabane and Omagh District Councils, managed by SUSTRANS, and supported by Fáilte Ireland, the NI Tourist Board, the PSNI and An Garda Síochána.

The North West Trail links with the existing National Cycle Network, Route 92 to Derry, the existing Kingfisher Trail, Route 91 and will also link with the Inish Eoghain cycle route presently being developed.

A guide leaflet and map of the trail have also been developed as well as the establishment of a website www.northwest-trail.com. The website will provide cyclists intending to visit the North West with information on how to get here, accommodation, where to eat guide, details of bike shops, attractions and places to see and visit.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • Sustrans is the UK's leading sustainable transport charity, working on practical projects so people can choose to travel in ways that benefit their health and the environment. Sustrans aims to encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport in order to reduce motor traffic and its adverse effect.
  • The INTERREG IIIA programme is designed to support cross border co-operation, social cohesion and economic development between the regions of the European Union. The INTERREG IIIA Programme covers all of the North and the six border counties - Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo.
  • The INTERREG IIIA programme is administered by the Special EU Programmes Body which is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance and Personnel and the Department of Finance. The Body was established on 2 December 1999, under the Good Friday Agreement 1998 and the British Irish Agreement, establishing implementing bodies. The Body reports to the North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC) and is the managing authority for the implementation of the INTERREG IIIA Programme.
  • The Rural Development Initiative, Measure 1.4, of the INTERREG IIIA Programme is managed jointly by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the Department for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (DCRGA). DARD and Border Action deliver the Programme at a local level. The Measure aims to promote the economic and social development of rural dwellers through integrated local area based development strategies and projects that will provide sustainable benefits on a cross-border basis.

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