Darkley and its surrounding area can be a hidden gem and that it’s potential should be fully explored.
SDLP councillor Thomas O’Hanlon said: “Darkley is at the most southern point of the Council area and for far too long the area has been neglected by the various statutory agencies.
“However if you look at the area, it is surrounded by forestry, lakes and some beautiful natural scenery.
“I want to see the natural recreational tourism potential of this area explored and explored to its full potential. I want to see the lands owned by Forest Service opened up to the public more.
“There is no reason why a partnership could not be formed between Armagh City and District Council, Forest Service and Armagh Angling Club who have the fishing rights to Tullynawood Lake to develop and manage this area for the good of all the community. In recent months we have seen places such as Slieve Gullion Forest Park developed and it is extremely popular”
He continued: “Right across the North, Forest Service have proven they are up to opening up their grounds where partners are involved.
“I want to see parking provided, designated walkways and nature trails identified and consideration should be given to tracks for bikers. The lakes locally can be invested in, with stocks managed, fishing styles provided and new walkways installed.
“Over recent years I have worked with local residents who have seen these areas targeted by dumpers and fuel smugglers; what better way to stop this type of activity than to invest in the area and encourage local people to use the area more and to restore a real pride in the area.
“Forest Service are due to meet with Councillors in the coming days to discuss potential schemes in the area and I want to see both Darkley and a scheme at Carnagh Forest developed.
“Darkley has always been deprived of funding and investment and I believe this is an ideal opportunity for Council, Forest Service and other agencies to work together in the area and develop the natural recreational potential for everyone.'”