A whole host of household names are getting behind National Trails Day this year encouraging people from across Northern Ireland to get outdoors and discover off road trails in their local vicinity. With over 40 events planned for Sunday 3 October, National Trails Day is set to be bigger than ever, celebrating the wonderful variety of trails available for everyone to enjoy in some of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful countryside, forests, mountains and lakes. From hill walking to cycling, horse riding to canoeing, there will certainly be no shortage of events on offer throughout the country.
“National Trails Day is a great initiative encouraging people of all ages and abilities from across Northern Ireland to get out and active.” David Healy, Sunderland and Northern Ireland Footballer.
Now in its third year the cross-community National Trails Day has grown from strength to strength. In 2009 more than 10,000 people from across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland got out into the countryside and enjoyed trails in a variety of ways. Events for National Trails Day 2010, which will all be offered free of charge, include bat walks, fun cycles, family orienteering, horse riding, canoeing and nature trail walks to name just a few!
“National Trails Day is all about getting all sorts of people, no matter how mobile they are, out into the great outdoors to make use of our many off road trails. It’s a great opportunity to show just how easy it is to use these trails and of course how beneficial the outdoors can be to healthy living - who needs a gym when all this is on our doorstep.” Pamela Ballintine, local television presenter.
This year the Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN) will be leading the organisation and marketing of National Trails Day in Northern Ireland and will be offering a fantastic range of exciting activities on trails throughout the country.
“Northern Ireland offers a wide range of unique trails both on land and water, everything from ‘have a go’ paddling sessions on the Strangford Lough Canoe Trail to venturing through the foothills of the Mourne Mountains along the Mourne Way. For the slightly less adventurous, National Trails Day is also offering events such as a family fun cycle through Gosford Forest Park and an autumn wildlife walk through the National Trust grounds of Crom Estate in County Fermanagh” explains Chris Armstrong from CAAN.
“The main aim of the day is to celebrate the trails we all have on offer and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to get outdoors. However, National Trails Day is also about promoting the idea that we need to protect and maintain these trails and October 3rd will also hopefully raise awareness of the great work of the key agencies who strive to do this.”
The National Trust has events planned at Castle Ward, Rowallane Gardens and Murlough National Nature Reserve. There will be a heritage trek up Divis and Black Mountain, an ‘Autumn Colours’ walk through The Argory, County Armagh and a meander around Minnowburn on the outskirts of Belfast. The Northern Ireland Forest Service has events taking place in Portglenone Forest and Gosford Forest Park with a woodland and lakeside walk in Hillsborough Forest. Both the National Trust and the Northern Ireland Forest Service will be waiving entrance fees into their various parks and estates for these events.
The Cuan hotel and restaurant in Strangford, County Down, is offering a scenic cycle ride along the shores of Strangford Lough with the Lagan Canal Restoration Trust teaming up with the Inland Waterways Association of Northern Ireland to put on a Lagan Canal Boat Rally and Towpath Walk. Other events offered by various local councils include scenic walking along the Ulster Way in west Tyrone, a ramble through Riverside Park in Ballymoney, a nature walk through the Lagan Valley, a cycle on the Newry Canal and an off-road guided walk along a section of the Mourne Way. The Canoe Association of Northern Ireland (CANI), privately owned activity providers and other independent organisers will all be joining these organisations offering all events free of charge.
“A day such as this is ideal for getting out with friends and family and doing something a bit different.” Denise Watson, BBC Newsline Sports Correspondent.
CAAN is organising National Trails Day with the support of financial partners Inland Waterways of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Waterways Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland. All events organised for National Trails Day 2010 will be listed on www.nationaltrailsday.co.uk with full contact information of the organisers. For some of the events, places are limited so contact the relevant organisers ahead of the day so as not to be disappointed. If you feel like you would like to organise your own event for National Trails Day get in touch with CAAN on 028 9030 3930.
Notes to editors:
National Trails Day 2010 is a celebration of the wonderful variety of countryside trails to be found throughout Ireland and a chance for everyone to enjoy some of the beautiful countryside, forests, mountains and lakes on offer. CAAN will be leading the organisation and marketing of National Trails Day for Northern Ireland in partnership with our financial partners Inland Waterways of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Waterways Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland and support partners National Trust and Forest Service.
For further information please contact Chris Armstrong, Countryside Access and Activities Network on 028 9030 6941 or via email email@example.com