Causeway Coast & Glens Outdoor Recreation Action Plan

6 07 2014
Outdoor Recreation NI is currently working on an Outdoor Recreation Action Plan (ORAP) for the Causeway Coast & Glens area.  The Plan is the third and final study to be completed as part of a suite commissioned by Sport NI.  Previous Plans have been completed for the Sperrins and Mournes area. The aim of the Plan is to provide an audit of the current provision of 30 different outdoor recreation activities, identify gaps in provision and opportunities for future development/enhancement and produce an Action Plan which recommends priorities for development.
Three public consultations events have been organised, two of which took place at the start of the week with the last scheduled for Mon 7th July at Moyle Council offices in Ballycastle at 7pm. 
Upon completion a report and action plan will be published and presented to the Causeway Coast & Glens Outdoor Recreation Forum.  It is anticipated that the Plan will strengthen the support for future funding and development projects

Progress on Forest Tourism and Outdoor Recreation opportunities

12 08 2013


 Ballycastle Forest

Moyle  SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed Council’s proposals for developing tourist and outdoor recreational opportunities within the three major Moyle forests Ballycastle, Ballypatrick and Glenariffe.

Councillor Cunningham continued “the proposals aim to expand and enhance the visitor experience and will include improving the provision for walking , running and horse riding as well as the addition of  outdoor gym equipment.”

“Ballycastle Forest located as it is so close to Ballycastle town centre has enormous potential. We need to make the most of our visitor and tourist potential, Ballycastle Forest is home to many important archaeological sites, souterrains, megalithic tombs and standing stones and there are many stories to be told about the history of the area.”

 “Ballycastle Town Partnership hopes to extend the Tow River path as far as the entrance to the forest, so there is no reason why the old narrow gauge railway line cannot be developed to form a “Glentaisie Trail” which would facilitate walking, running, cycling, orienteering and horse riding. There are a host of sporting events which could be staged in our wonderful surroundings.”

“The Moyle Way and the climb of Knocklayde can be better promoted, alongside the Red Squirrel safari. With proper planning and marketing we can realise the fantastic opportunity which is on our doorstep”

Rathlin Island Rue Point and Roonivoolin Walk

15 05 2013


Information from Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust

The next walk in our Events Programme for 2013 is on Rathlin Island and takes place on the 1st June 2013 at 1.30pm.  This walk takes place during the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival and the ferries will be very busy so if you wish to take part in this walk we recommend you contact Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd on (028) 2076 9299 asap to book your place on the ferry.  The ferry times can be found at the following link: (Please ensure when booking your ferry that you leave yourself ample time to prepare for the walk.  It is also recommended to bring refreshments.)

 Once you have booked your place on the ferry, please contact either myself or Tierna ( to register with for the walk. More information can be found below. Thank you for your time.

 Take the route less travelled on this beautiful walk to Rue Point, the most southerly point on the island and then on to the RSPB Roonivoolin Reserve and back to the Harbour area. This is a varied and leisurely walk and is also one of the great activities offered as part of this year’s exciting Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival celebrations. Enjoy amazing views of the coastline. Enjoy stunning views of the cliffs, Church Bay and the Northern Irish coastline as well as, during the Festival dates, a Search and Rescue Demonstration in the seas below.

Prebooking is required. Contact Tierna on (028) 2075 2100 or email

We recommend you contact Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd (028) 2076 9299 to arrange ferry travel.

Assembly point: 1.30pm Rathlin Harbour, Rathlin Island.
Date: Saturday 1st June 2013
Duration: Approx 3 ¾ hours.
Distance: 5 miles.
Surface: Tarmac laneway, established tracks and open fields.
Grade: 2.
Footwear: Strong/solid footwear and waterproof clothing recommended. Sunscreen may be necessary and a bottle of water. No dogs please

Launch of Causeway Coast and Glens Biodiversity Action plan

28 02 2013


Speaking after attending the launch of the Causeway Coast and Glens Cluster Council Local Biodiversity Action plan, Councillor Dónal Cunningham praised the work of Biodiversity Officer Rachel Bain.
“Rachel’s enthusiasm for Biodiversity is infectious; the extent of the Action Plan is testimony to her work to date through the four Council districts. The comprehensive action plan will increase public awareness of the importance of biodiversity and the role it can play in areas such as health, education, regeneration and sustainable development”

“Biodiversity is the web of life, of which we all are an integral part. it provides us with essential goods and services (ecosystem services) that we could not live without,such as oxygen we breathe, water we drink and food we eat. By adding beauty and variety to our surroundings ,it enhances our health and well being . Biodiversity adds character and distinctieness to an area. The Causeway Coast and Glens Council cluster  is truly distinctive and varied from the Giants Causeway and Rathlin Island, to Binevenagh, the River Bann and Garry Bog. This natural beauty has helped to shape our culture and inspire our artists, writers and composers”  
“I look forward to seeing new Biodiversity projects coming on board within the Ballycastle and Glens areas”

No need to rush into National Park designation

11 09 2012

Acknowledging the fact no enabling legislation has been enacted for the designation of National Parks, Moyle SDLP Councillors Dónal Cunningham and Catherine McCambridge have nevertheless urged the DOE not to rush into any designation particularly in relation to the Glens of Antrim and the CausewayCoast.

The Glens of Antrim and CausewayCoast area are already amongst the most protected natural environments. Designations include AONB(Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), ASSI (Area of Special Scientific Interest), WHS (World Heritage Site), Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) as well as Conservation Towns and Villages, all of which serve  to conserve natural beauty – which by statute includes wildlife, physiographic features and cultural heritage as well as the more conventional concepts of landscape and scenery

Moyle Council has been proactive in improving sustainable tourism and access to the natural environment; at this stage it is not clear what improvements, if any, National Park designation would bring.

Cunningham welcomes Moyle’s inclusion in the International Appalachian Trail

13 05 2012

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed plans to include Ballycastle and Moyle to the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) – an extension of the world renowned and globally popular walking route, the Appalachian Trail.

The proposed link will see the Irish section of the international trail start at the spectacular coastal cliffs of Slieve League in County Donegal and working its way through to Moyle and Ballycastle and the stunning Antrim coast.
“Research by Fáilte Ireland shows walking is likely to be the number one activity to attract visitors to Ireland over the next five years.”
“I am delighted to support the extension of the IAT to Moyle. It will help position Moyle as a top walking destination and it is a fantastic marketing opportunity to position ourselves as the centre of a fantastic walking trail.”

Councillor Cunningham continued –

“It is important that Moyle Council proactively continue to invest in the infrastructure required to position and maintain Moyle as a world class destination for walkers, so that domestic holidaymakers and overseas visitors, are able to enjoy our wide range of walking paths, beaches and trails.”

Moyle Council supports “Heart of the Glens” landscape partnership programme

30 10 2011

Moyle District Council voted to support the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust’s project to conserve and celebrate the unique landscape of the Antrim Glens.

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham said “The Glens of Antrim contain some of Ireland’s most stunning and
beautiful landscapes , I am delighted to support the plans to conserve and celebrate the unique natural and cultural heritage of the area”. CCGHT’s Helen Noble presented to Council an outline of the outreach and educational activities at the heart of the proposals, the project will reconnect the local community and visitors to the area with the landscape to secure its habitats and traditional features for generations to come.

Landscape Partnerships act as a catalyst to bring organisations and communities together to form partnerships that create a shared vision for the conservation and management of our landscape heritage, enabling people to tackle the heritage needs of their local landscapes in a co-ordinated and effective way. The Heart of the Glens scheme involves a portfolio of individual projects that deliver long-term social, economic and environmental benefits for the area.

The Glens of Antrim consist of nine spectacular glens on the Antrim Coast which run down to the dramatic cliffs, headlands and bays of the rocky North Channel coastline. The area is one of high scenic value, important habitats and vigorous community life. It is a popular tourist destination thanks to its distinctive farmsteads known as Clachans and traditional field patterns. The four coastal villages of Glenarm, Cushendall, Cushendun and Carnlough alongside the town of Ballycastle, all designated Conservation Areas, are home to the majority of the population of the Glens and each has its own distinct relationship with the glens.

The five year Heart of the Glens Landscape Partnership will conserve and maintain the special landscape character of the area and re-enforce the relationship between people and place through a series of individual projects. The rich natural heritage of the area will be conserved through a series of schemes to manage the woodland, conserve the red squirrel and improve the condition of the upland blanket bog habitat. Built heritage projects will include the survey and restoration of selected archaeological sites and heritage features such as the dry stone walls of the ladder farms.

The Landscape Partnership will reconnect the Glens community to the glens landscape through a series of events and activities such as a public art competition, food festival and exhibitions and talks. Working in partnership with local businesses and other organisations with an interest in the area, a number of learning and training opportunities will be offered on subjects as diverse as sustainable fishing and farming practices, hedge laying and whitewashing traditional buildings or traditional music and sport.

The Nine Glens of Antrim are
Glenarm – The glen of the army, the village of Glenarm is on the famous Antrim Coast.
Glencloy – The glen of the hedges, two miles north of Glenarm, with the village of Carnlough at its foot.
Glenariff – The arable or fertile glen, the best-known of the nine as the ‘Queen of the Glens’, sweeps majestically towards the village of Waterfoot.
Glenballyemon – Edwardstown glen, at the foot of which is Cushendall – more of less at the centre of the nine glens.
Glenaan – The glen of the colt’s foot or rush lights, a rugged glen – having the site of the legendary Ossian’s grave, on the Cushendall-Ballymoney mountain road.
Glencorp – The glen of the slaughtered, close by Glenaan and roughly parallel to the main road from Cushendall to Cushendun.
Glendun – The glen of the brown river, adjacent to Cushendun village; spanned by a viaduct on the main Cushendall-Ballycastle road.
Glenshesk – The sedgy glen, east of the town of Ballycastle, and sweeping towards the ruins of historical Bonamargy friary.
Glentaisie – Named after ‘Taisie’, princess of Rathlin Island, roughly west of Ballycastle and, like Glenshesk, close to the town.

Protect Moyle’s Coastal Heritage

30 09 2011

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham is calling on the council to seek advice on how to best protect Moyle’s coastal heritage and to pursue the relevant agencies with responsibility to ensure action is taken.

 He added “The 19th century pier on the walk to Fair Head is fast disappearing and unless action is taken will be irreparably lost to coastal erosion”

 “Moyle’s coast is a rich and diverse historic landscape and includes evidence of past settlements, 19th century industry, old coastal defences, forts and castles, harbours and ports.

 Managing and protecting these Historic resources is becoming an increasing challenge. Much of the resource is fragile and vulnerable – prone to damage from the unpredictable forces of coastal erosion, storms, high tides and the long-term effects of climate change.

Carrickmore Road: Assert the Public Right of Way

16 08 2011

Boyd's Coalyard 1984

 Moyle District Council unanimously  rejected a proposal for support for the “Abandonment  of part of the Carrickmore Road”.  

In keeping with the overwhelming view of the local community, SDLP councillors will be supporting the request for the Council to legally assert the “Public Right Of Way” right through to Fair Head.