£1.1m investment delivers first-class new facilities at Gortin Glen Forest Park

3rd March 2022

Gortin Glens FODC  18r

Visitors to Gortin Glens Forest Park will benefit from a wide range of new facilities following the completion of extensive enhancements, Rural Development Minister Edwin Poots MLA has said.

The re-development includes a Destination Play Park, Trim trail, 13 km of exhilarating mountain bike trails, 5 waymarked walking trails of varying lengths for all abilities, a modernised café and accessible toilet provision, a forest educational centre and campsite, which Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council have funded.

Touring the new facilities at Gortin Glen Forest Park, Minister Poots said, “On my visit to Gortin Glens it is easy to see how visitors will benefit from these new first-class enhanced facilities at the Forest. The benefits of this investment is clear to see from the massive increase in visitors to over 160,000 visitors in 2021 clearly demonstrating the interest in, and use of the local park. Attracting such numbers helps to create a sustainable living, working, active rural landscape valued by everyone.”

The Minister added “The development of effective partnership arrangements with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has been critical to providing this range of facilities for people to enjoy. I warmly congratulate the Council on their ongoing endeavours in providing better services and facilities for users of Gortin Glens Forest Park. Indeed Council and DAERA are currently working closely to further develop the Forest by enhancing the Tourism element with a Sculpture being erected at Mullaghcarn as an integral part of the Sperrins Sculpture Trail.”

The improvements form part of Council’s plans to develop the forest into a must visit family friendly destination which will have significant appeal for residents and visitors alike and has to date resulted in five jobs being created. Council have received funding of £1.1 million of DAERA funding through its Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) budget.

In concluding the Minister continued “The ongoing Forest Park Enhancement and Community Trails Development Scheme fits very well with my Department’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Framework priorities. It addresses important issues such as isolation, loneliness, access and health and well-being.

“Our Forests currently attract almost nine million visits each year and delivers outcomes for local dwellers by enhancing and creating spaces that will encourage people to  adopt to a more healthy and active lifestyle. My Department will continue to support and enable activities that promote and encourage responsible recreational opportunities in our forest parks for the benefit of Northern Ireland.”

Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Errol Thomson said

“Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is committed to working in partnership with other stakeholders to improve the quality of life of our residents and to provide the best possible experience for visitors to the district.

With phases 1 and 2 of the Gortin Glen Development Plan now complete with the refurbishment of the Park which includes a Destination Inclusive Play Park, trim trail, 13 km of exhilarating mountain bike trails, walking trails for all abilities, modernised café and accessible toilet provision, forest class room and campsite, the Council in partnership with the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has created a must visit family friendly destination which will have significant appeal for residents and visitors alike.

Improving the health and wellbeing of all our citizens is one of the priorities of the Council and the Fermanagh and Omagh 2030 Community Plan. The Council recognises the importance of providing well-equipped, safe, attractive and accessible facilities for all to get active, while having fun.

I would like to thank all those involved in the development works and I hope that the range of facilities brings much enjoyment to our communities and to those visiting the area.”

Minister Poots also visited nearby Glenpark Estate to meet local representatives from the Munterloney Initative for an update on progress including visiting a local tourism project at the site.