A collection of popular tourist sites across Newry, Mourne and Down District Council will share more than £279,000 of funding for projects to enhance the visitor experience.
The funding has been secured to invest in a range of natural heritage projects across the district areas.
The funding, which comes from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) Challenge Fund, will assist in the delivery of key environmental outcomes set out by the local authority.
The capital will also help RGSL to reverse habitat and species decline, improve river and marine water quality, and obtain favourable management in the AONB designated and protected sites.
Meanwhile, additional biodiversity and access projects within the Ring of Gullion and Strangford and Lecale (RGSL) Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will be implemented.
Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen a significant increase in the number of people across our district using the outdoors for their health and wellbeing.
“It is vitally important that we continue to invest in these areas so that we can provide the facilities that are necessary to cope with this increased demand that is being placed on our outdoor spaces.”
She added: “It is also important that we provide the necessary investment to protect our designated sites, habitats and species; so that what makes the Ring of Gullion and Strangford and Lecale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty so special, and so popular with both visitors and locals alike, can be protected and cherished for generations to come.
“I am sure that this additional funding will provide many opportunities for people to enjoy and connect with their environment in a better way in the future.”