Ambitious Northern Ireland greenway plans continue to gather momentum

“The greenway here is unbelievable. It’s opened up Victoria Park to Orangefield and all along it people are enjoying it. It’s great for people’s physical well-being, mental well-being – everything.”

The development of greenways – car-free paths and trails for walkers and cyclists – has continued for Northern Ireland in the last 12 months.

The vision? A 620-mile network of greenways extending through all six counties in Northern Ireland, reviving the disused railway network and potentially transforming local transport infrastructure.

The catch? It’s an ambitious 25-year plan and the surface has barely been scratched. Still, the plans have progressed. A strategic report published by the Department of Infrastructure last November outlined the way forward. The department also made £160,000 available to councils, so they could work up detailed proposals for greenways in their area.

Another reason for the gathering greenway momentum is the success of projects in the Republic of Ireland, such as the Great Western Greenway in County Mayo. It was the longest off-road trail in the Republic – until the 29-mile Waterford Greenway opened in March this year.

“We have a strategy, we have a vision and it’s for 25 years,” he said. “We’re one year out of those 25 and councils are engaged.”

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