Major progress has been reported on an exciting new walking and recreational trails project stretching across Europe, led by Donegal County Council.
The new Atlantic Area Trail Gazers Project includes trails in spectacular locations from Donegal to Portugal.
Trail Gazers is situated in eight pilot trail sites in ‘Chemin De Mémoires’, in Bretagne, France; ‘Via Verde del Plazola’ in Navarra, Spain; ‘La Caldera de Taburiente’ on the Canary Island of Las Palma; the ‘Seven Hanging Valleys’ in the Algarve, Portugal; ‘Sacred Mountain’ in Viana do Castelo, Northern Portugal; the ‘Taff Trail’ in West Wales and the Valleys; the ‘Knocknarea/Killaspugbrone loop ‘ in Sligo and ‘Inch Levels’ in Donegal.
Following on from a hugely successful online launch of the project website earlier this month, partners from across the Atlantic Area met online on June 23rd and 24th June to continue with detailed planning.
The Trail Gazers project aims to determine the impact of significant investment which has been made over the years into developing walking and recreational trails across the Atlantic Area on sustaining rural communities and will explore innovative ways that this impact can be enhanced.
Project Manager for Trail Gazers, Loretta McNicholas from Donegal County Council said: “Despite the difficult times that we find ourselves in, I am delighted with the amount of progress made and with the commitment and desire of each partner to push forward and deliver key outputs over the next number of months.”
Ms McNicholas also thanked the Research and Policy Team in Donegal County Council for their hard work and dedication to delivering this project in extremely difficult circumstances and that innovative thinking and the use of technology was key to making this happen.
During last week’s two-day online meeting, partners from each region presented their work package updates which included:
- Development of a ‘Lost Stories and Folklore of the Trails App’ which captures old stories, folklore and fables of key points of interest along each trail; in an attempt to preserve this important oral history, disseminate it to visitors and build up a sense of nostalgia, a desire to discover more about the area and an experience that will live with them long after their visit has finished.
- Agreement on a ‘methodological guide for calculating trail multipliers’ which will quantify the direct and indirect economic impacts on local economies of every euro spent in trails was discussed and agreed.
- The scoping of key options for development that will enhance footfall or economic, social and cultural interactions between each trail site and the surrounding catchment area.
Partners were also given updates on key strategies to ensure the overall conservation and protection of our trail sites through the developing of trail care packs and podcasts that will promote the health benefits of walking and cycling.
The next steering meeting will be held in October, 2020.
For more information on the Trail Gazers project, check out our website www.trailgazers.eu.
Trail Gazers is co-financed by the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme through the European Regional Development Fund.