DAVAGH Forest will enjoy a £400,000 cash boost resulting in the creation of up to 20km of walking, cycling and mountain bike trails.
The picturesque forest has been earmarked by Cookstown District Council as a key signature project for 2012.
Located in the west of the district, the forest will be enhanced by the creation of a range of different trails, due to open in February 2013.
The trails will be of varying design to accommodate a range of users, including green, blue and red grade trails.
The green trail will be most suited to walkers, families and beginner cyclists.
The blue trail will be a step up from the green and will be slightly more challenging and will be most suited to walkers, runners and mountain bikers.
And the red trail will have lots of technical features to challenge the most experienced mountain bikers. It will also descend on two different routes to help vary the trail and provide an exciting experience for all those seeking a bit more adventurous.
This project is being delivered by Cookstown District Council in partnership with Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland. Councillor for Cookstown District Council, Cllr Sean Clarke, said it has been fantastic to see how the project has evolved since its inception in 2009.
“The feedback from the community has really helped to shape the type of trails that will be established. The interest shown in this project demonstrates that there is a real appetite for outdoor activity products and Davagh Forest is the perfect location which will benefit everyone especially the local community,” he said.
Rick McKee, from Trailbadger, an organisation established to promote and provide information on mountain bike trails across Ireland participated in the consultations.
He said it was ‘an absolute belter of a trail network for Davagh’ and something that will ultimately transform the area and be a flagship project for Northern Ireland.
Approximately £240,000 has been secured from SWARD (South West Action for Rural Development) through the Rural Development Programme with council providing the remaining funding for the project.
The level of funding which has been allocated to this project demonstrates council’s commitment of providing a product that has been designed to a high standard with the aim of attracting visitors from Ireland and Great Britain, and one that has the potential to host significant regional and national events.