Council appeals for people not to visit Cuilcagh Boardwalk during closure

1st June 2020

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Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is appealing to people not to visit the Cuilcagh Boardwalk with the boardwalk remaining closed to public access at present due to the COVID-19 health pandemic.

The appeal has been made following reports of people walking the boardwalk and an increased volume of cars parking on the narrow Marlbank Road to access it.

Urging people not to attempt to visit the Cuilcagh Boardwalk at present, Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Siobhán Currie, explained that social distancing cannot be observed on the boardwalk:

“It is not possible to accommodate social distancing while walking on the narrow boardwalk.

The boardwalk is there to protect the environmentally rich and very sensitive blanket bog underneath. We cannot permit a reopening which does not facilitate social distancing and may result in walkers stepping off the boardwalk to avoid others and then damaging the protected bog.

Despite the boardwalk being closed, we are aware of people travelling by car to walk it over recent days.  People are parking cars on the narrow country roads, causing access issues and posing a danger not only to themselves but other road users and those living and working in the area.

I urge anyone thinking of visiting Cuilcagh Boardwalk at present to think twice and leave their visit until a time when we can safely welcome visitors back.

With car parks reopening at a number of parks and open spaces recently across the district there are many other walking trails and tracks available where social distancing and parking can both be safely accommodated.”

Following a statement by the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs regarding the reopening of Forest Parks and the easing of some restrictions by the Northern Ireland Executive, car parks at Gortin Glen Forest Park and at sites within the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark​ including Ely Lodge, Castle Archdale, Killykeegan, Lough Navar and Castle Caldwell reopened on 27 May 2020.

Toilets, visitor amenities and play parks remain closed and mobile food vendors are not permitted at these sites at present.

People visiting these sites should always keep their distance from those outside their household; try and plan their visit outside peak times and at less popular sites to minimise contact with others and respect the sites by leaving no trace and always bringing their litter home.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council will continue to actively review the status of its facilities in line with guidance from the NI Executive and with prevailing public health advice.

The Council will at all times put the health and safety of its residents, visitors and staff at the forefront of its decision making in relation to the reopening and the day to day operations of its facilities.