LOUGHGALL Forest is hosting an ‘Eco Trail’ as part of National Trails Day this Sunday, October 7.
It is one of 13 special events taking place at forests across the Province, all aimed at raising awareness of ourdoor trails. National Trails Day provides a chance for everyone to enjoy some of the most beautiful countryside, forests, mountains and lakes the country has to offer.
And, what’s more, all of the events are free of charge. Forestry Minister Michelle O’Neill has invited the public to come along and join in.
She said: “Forests are one of our greatest natural assets and I want to encourage local communities to fully utilise their local facilities. Increasing access and improving facilities to Forest Service’s estate is a key commitment of my Department.
“For the fifth year running, my Department will again be participating in National Trails Day, in co-operation with our southern colleagues in Coillte, with a wide range of special events taking place across the north.
“I am very proud of the success we have already achieved in what has now become an all-Ireland event and am confident that this year’s event will be even more successful.”
Minister O’Neill added: “The physical and mental health benefits from outdoor recreation are well known. I want to call on the public to make the most of the free events that we are putting on for National Trails Day on Sunday.
“This is an excellent opportunity to visit local woodlands and learn more about the natural environment, as well as having an enjoyable day out.”
In keeping with previous years, daily access charges will be waived on National Trails Day at all Forest Service recreation areas where access charges are usually applied.
A total of 19 events are being hosted at 13 individual DARD Forest Service woodlands, and there is certain to be something suitable for most tastes.
In addition to Loughgall, others include Rostrevor Forest’s Fungal Foray and Mushroom Hunt, while a Bird Spotting walk will take place at Tollymore Forest Park. Red squirrel events are also being held at several forests in the Antrim Hills and Glens, and at Gortin Glen Forest, near Omagh.
A full listing of events across the whole of Ireland is available on the National Trails Day (ROI ) website and the National Trails Day (UK) website and ‘Whats on in Forests’, (nidirect website).