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MTB Trails Planned for Gortin Glen Forest Park


Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, the organisation behind MountainBikeNI.com, together with Omagh District Council, have this week initiated the tender process for the design of an extensive trail network for walkers and mountain bikers within Gortin Glen Forest Park, County Tyrone.

This design will incorporate a minimum of 20km of sustainable walking trails and at least 30km of purpose-built mountain bike trails throughout the Forest Park which will elevate Gortin Glen to one of Northern Ireland’s flagship outdoor recreation venues.

One of the largest Forest Parks in Northern Ireland, Gortin Glen is situated just six miles outside Omagh and has historically been popular amongst locals, day visitors and tourists alike. In order to regenerate this Forest Park, Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland in partnership Omagh District Council are developing a ‘Forest Masterplan’ which includes the development of these recreational trails alongside a ‘Visitor Hub’ including café, event space, retail unit and adventure play area.

Speaking recently, Omagh District Council Chairman, Councillor Sean Begley, explained “The investment by Omagh District Council along with funding from the NIEL Challenge Fund and project led by Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland will help to breathe renewed life into Gortin Glen Forest Park for the health and welling being of residents and it will also help stimulate the tourism potential for local economy and become a recreational and tourism asset for the new Fermanagh Omagh Council, County Tyrone and the Sperrins region.”

The recent ‘Mountain Bike Strategy for Northern Ireland 2014 – 24’, identified Gortin Glen Forest Park as a potential location for a National Mountain Bike Trail Centre and so this trail design will outline areas of the forest park which could host the 30km of purpose-built mountain bike trails required to realise this potential.

Clare Jones, Development Manager for Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, explains “We have no doubt that Gortin Glen Forest Park can become one of the country’s leading mountain bike trail centres and with the Davagh Forest Trails located only half an hour away, the Sperrins has the potential of becoming a truly World Class short break mountain bike destination.”

Mrs Jones continues, “It is important to remember that developing sustainable trails within challenging landscapes such as Gortin Glen Forest Park can be a lengthy process however securing the correct trail design company is the first step in making these trails a reality.”

Once appointed, the successful company will start work on the trail design which will include a number of public consultations for existing and potential users of the forest. The design will be completed by May 2015 with the process of securing funding for trail construction running in tandem. 

Visit www.outdoorrecreationni.com for more information on the design of these new recreational trails within Gortin Glen Forest Park. 

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