A new pony trekking centre and glamping site could be on the cards on the hillside overlooking the breathtaking Carlingford Lough.
The development – earmarked on agricultural land at Killowen, a short distance from Rostrevor – would provide a new tourist amenity, as well as accommodation with the potential to host a diverse range of planned activities.
For while the site, on a foothill to Slieve Ban on the periphery of Kilbroney Forest, will include five glamping pods available for public use, a sixth has been earmarked as a central venue.
It will be capable of staging various events and activities, such as craft workshops, reading groups, art classes, yoga and many others.
The five pods for public use will be created out of 30-ft steel shipping containers, which will be partially buried into the sloping hillside.
The larger pod for activities will comprise two such containers.
Meanwhile, the pony trekking centre will be a superb attraction for people wishing to engage in something a little bit different, with the development’s overall “quirkiness and individuality” pointed out in no uncertain terms
As a planning statement, accompanying the application to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, reveals, the applicant is proposing an “eco-themed destination”.
It adds: “People will be able to stay at the site and then take horses for hacks up through the forest above the site and through the surrounding hills.
“There will be a small stable block erected in the car park.”
The timber-framed stable block, as well as the pods, will be capable of being removed “in the event the business ceases”.
The planning statement continues: “Because the site is on an elevated slope it will be necessary to create a gravel track up to the pods. This will be as inconspicuous as a simple farm track.
“It will be necessary to create a car parking area for visitors, however, this will be finished with gravel and broken up with planted beds and other natural features. This area will be discretely tucked into a part of the site that is of limited visibility despite its rising plane.”
According to the submission, the applicant’s design concentrates on the sustainable and innovative, with an enterprise which he hopes will “attract an environmentally-conscious clientele”.
It explains: “While the site is in relatively close proximity to neighbouring residential properties, the nature of the proposal is such that it will not be characterised by loud music, dancing or other noisy activities.
“The applicant has only purchased the holding and intends to replace the dwelling and live on the plot himself, with the applicant himself having a warden type responsibility.”
The proposals will now be considered in depth and are expected to be publicly advertised next week.