The ancient woodland of Brantry, near Caledon is to get a new lease of life as investment of £170k is delivered through a partnership between the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and Mid Ulster District Council starts to transform the site this month.
The modernising investment, just one of a recent number of outdoor recreation capital developments delivered by Mid Ulster District Council across the district, will capitalise on the natural woodland and lakeside resources in what is an area of outstanding natural beauty, replete with historical significance since the 12th Century. Brantry Forest and adjacent Lough is well used by local people for outdoor recreation activities, such as walking, running and angling, and the potential for additional resources on site has long been recognised.
Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Sean McPeake welcomed the investment, saying, “The Council is delighted to work in partnership with DAERA Rural Affairs Division and Forest Service to enhance this popular local recreation site. Simple improvements which are planned can make a marked difference to the recreational value of a forest, and can have a positive knock-on effect on the health and well-being of those who use it. Coupled with the leveraging of economic benefits that investment brings, and the additional resource for community use, this investment will pay dividends for residents and visitors alike in the years to come.”
Fiona McCandless, DAERA Deputy Secretary acknowledged the collaborative effort involved in the development of Brantry Forest. “This is a great example of partnership working and I am delighted that the Department’s Forest Service and Rural Affairs Directorate have worked with Mid Ulster District Council to develop these new recreation facilities at Brantry Forest which will help improve access, health and well-being and tackle rural isolation. This project will contribute to the Departments vision for a living, working, active landscape valued by everyone”.
The development of Brantry Forest will include the provision of bespoke children’s play experiences, visitor welcoming signage, and interpretation, way-marked multi-use trails for walking and off-road cycling, the provision of picnic and barbecue facilities as well as further development of the Game Keeper’s Lodge on site for community use.
Work is to be expected to be complete and the site open to the public in late spring 2019.