FUNDING will be provided to Avondale Forest Walk to enhance walking trails and cycleways as part of a new five-year strategic partnership between the Department of Rural and Community Development and Coillte designed to boost rural tourism.
Some 260 recreational forests and 12 forest parks will receive investment as part of the initiative, approved by Minister Heather Humphreys.
€100,000 will be allocated to Avondale Forest Park to construct a new multi-access trail and a family cycle trail.
A number of maintenance capital works are also planned for different locations in the Garden County.
€11,000 will go toward the Sean Lenihan Walk in Aughrim to carry out repairs and remove a dangerous boardwalk. €10,000 goes toward the resurfacing of the carpark at Crone, Enniskerry.
The Devil’s Glen in Ashford will receive €15,000 for trail maintenance and a safety assessment, while €8,000 has been made available for trail surface maintenance and resurfacing of part of the carpark at Djouce Woods in Roundwood.
Drumgoff in Glenmalure will receive €14,000 for trail maintenance and assess safety. Kindlestown in Greystones will receive €7,000 for a trail upgrade, likewise Rolddenagh in Aughrim, which received €2,000.
€6,000 has been set aside for carpark, barrier and signage works at Shay Elliott in Glenmalure.
Announcing the funding, Minister Humphreys said: “Our forest parks, walking and cycling trails and upland areas are what makes Rural Ireland stand out. Right across the country, people of all ages reap the benefits of these unique natural amenities on a daily basis. This €15 million partnership between the Department of Rural and Community Development and Coillte will further enhance our great outdoors – benefitting hundreds of thousands of people for years to come.
“As Minister, investing in our great outdoors has been a major priority of mine. We all know the benefits that our forest parks and outdoor trails provide in terms of both our physical and mental wellbeing.”
Coillte is Ireland’s largest forester and also Ireland's largest provider of outdoor recreation space. The Coillte estate includes 260 recreational forests, 12 forest parks, 3,000km of way-marked walking trails and six purpose-built world-class mountain biking facilities.
Coillte recorded a significant increase in visitor numbers to its Forest Parks and recreation sites over the past two years, with a doubling of visitor numbers at some of its most popular sites. The funding announcement will assist Coillte in upgrading facilities to meet the increased demand for access to these amenities.