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O’Neill encourages people to attend National Trails Day events

1 October, 2012 - by Michelle O'Neill

Forestry Minister Michelle O’Neill has invited the public to join an exciting range of events in celebration of National Trails Day on Sunday 7 October 2012.

Raising awareness of outdoor trails throughout Ireland, National Trails Day is a chance for everyone to enjoy some of the most beautiful countryside, forests, mountains and lakes. Entrance to all events on the day will be free.

Explaining what National Trails Days is all about, the Minister said:

“Forests are one of our greatest natural assets and I want to encourage local communities to fully utilise their local facilities. Increasing access and improving facilities to Forest Service’s estate is a key commitment of my Department.

“For the fifth year running my Department will again be participating in National Trails Day in co-operation with our southern colleagues in Coillte, with a wide range of special events taking place across the north. I am very proud of the success we have already achieved in what has now become an all-Ireland event and am confident that this year’s event will be even more successful.”

In conclusion she added: “The physical and mental health benefits from outdoor recreation are well known. I want to call on the public to make the most of the free events that we are putting on for National Trails Day on Sunday. This is an excellent opportunity to visit local woodlands and learn more about the natural environment, as well as having an enjoyable day out.”

This year National Trails Day will again be an all-island event, with support partners including DARD Forest Service. With more and varied events located across the country, the 2012 National Trails Day will surely prove even more popular than ever before.In keeping with previous years, daily access charges will be waived on National Trails Day at all Forest Service recreation areas where access charges are usually applied.

A total of 19 events are being hosted at 13 individual DARD Forest Service woodlands and there is certain to be something suitable for most tastes. Rostrevor Forest will host a Fungal Foray and Mushroom Hunt while a Bird Spotting walk will take place at Tollymore Forest Park. Red squirrel events are also being held at several forests in the Antrim Hills and Glens and at Gortin Glen Forest, near Omagh. A full listing of events across the whole of Ireland is available on and

With a range of events aimed to attract younger visitors and the more mature alike, there will be lots to choose from; so why not enjoy a fun-filled time at a Forest Service woodland trail near you!

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