Provision of Horse Riding Activity During Forest Works
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Forest Service are engaged in the consideration of potential approaches to accommodating horse riding activity in Castlewellan Forest Park, while effectively managing the health and safety implications associated with on-going tree felling and the use of the mountain bike and walking trails networks.
It has been agreed that a study will be commissioned to assess the capacity within the forest to provide for horse riding activity in the multi-use environment that exists, to identify management and infrastructure implications and to examine feasibility and cost effectiveness of various approaches. Pending this review the Council has asked Mourne Heritage Trust, which manages the walking and mountain bike trails on behalf of Council, to identify areas of the forest in which horse riding can safely be accommodated for an interim period. This work is being progressed as a matter of urgency after which any proposed identified areas will be discussed with stakeholders and agreed with Forest Service.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick said, “It is clear that members of the community greatly value the opportunity for horse riding that has been provided over the years in the forest setting. We are pleased to be working in partnership with Forest Service to comprehensively consider arrangements for the practical and safe conduct of horse riding in Castlewellan Forest Park in the context of the various forestry, commercial and leisure activities that take place. We hope in the coming days to identify specific areas of the forest to cater for this activity on an interim basis, extending the licence agreement we currently have with Forest Service that facilitates management of other recreational activity. We will then look forward to engaging stakeholders in consideration of the feasibility of longer term arrangements”.Back