New Recreation Office for Mourne Forests
The ongoing development of the outdoor recreation within the forests in the Mournes took another key step forward this week with the establishment of a Mourne Forests Recreation Office in Castlewellan Forest Park.
Following a recent visit to the new office, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Naomi Baillie explained “The outdoor recreation developments within the Mourne Forests have already been a great success. Castlewellan Forest Park has seen the development of walk and mountain bike trails alongside refurbishment of the Peace Maze. The innovative Play Trail and multi-use walk and cycle trails are proving really popular in nearby Bunkers Hill; whilst the recently installed Nature Play Spaces ‘Animal Wood’ and ‘Big Deer’ within Castlewellan and Tollymore Forest Parks respectively are a big hit with families.”
The opening of the Mourne Forests Recreation Office is another important step for the Council; having a physical base will allow for improved day to day interaction with visitors.
Councillor Bailie continued, “I am delighted to see that the new office is now ready to open its doors. I have no doubt that it will be a great asset in helping to provide a positive visitor experience to those enjoying the impressive range of outdoor recreation trails and products which have been developed within the Mourne Forests over the past two years.”
The new office is located adjacent to the Grange Yard and will be operated by two Mourne Forests staff. Clare Jones, Mourne Forests Development Manager is responsible for the redevelopment of the forests and overall strategic management.
Boyd McClurg, Mourne Forests Recreation Officer is responsible for management of the outdoor recreation facilities, whilst everyday roles include maintaining the walk trails, bike wash, play equipment and liaising with Mourne Heritage Trust to effectively maintain the mountain bike trails.
Both posts were established by Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland and are delivered through a Service Level Agreement with the former Down District Council.
Mourne Forests Recreation Officer Boyd McClurg, enthused “I’ve really enjoyed meeting people from the local community and visitors to the Mourne Forests in my short time here. This new office will provide an excellent base from which to continue providing a positive visitor experience.”
On the opening of this office, Mourne Forests Development Manager, Clare Jones explained howit will provide the opportunity to develop closer working relationships with the community and visitors to the forest park.
Clare explained “Working alongside recognised experts, Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland is committed to delivering the vision to put the forests of County Down on the world stage as a place to visit through appropriate and sensitive development, careful management and excellent marketing and promotion. By enabling this office to be set up on site, the Council has taken a very proactive approach to the redevelopment of the forests.”
Forest visitors can receive up to date information and interact with the Recreation Officers via Twitter by following @MourneForests