It was a day of celebration at the An Grianan Hotel in Burt on Wednesday where a specially developed toolkit for a European-wide walking and recreational trails project was launched.
Donegal County Council is a lead partner in the Atlantic Area Trail Gazers Project which includes trails in eight spectacular locations from Donegal to Portugal.
The Trail Gazers project aimed to determine the impact of significant investment which was made over the years into developing walking and recreational trails across the Atlantic area.
As part of Enterprise Week 2023, Trail Gazers, hosted a Social Enterprise event to launch the culmination of the work and research carried out on the project over the past three years.
The toolkit, entitled, Trail Gazers – The Legacy outlines all the learning and tools developed as part of the project all packaged into one easy to access Toolkit.
From digital marketing to trail management, destination packaging and creating action plans for the wider catchment this Toolkit will be a valuable resource to all those interested in developing walking trails.
After the seminar, participants went to visit the trail at Inch Wildfowl Reserve for a leisurely cycle to see the Trail Gazers tools in action.
Speaking at the event, Killian McLaughlin, Wild Ireland outlined the work they do, how they have collaborated with other tourism providers including Amazing Grace Yacht Charters and the Wild Alpaca Way to increase visitors’ dwell time in the area.
Aengus Kennedy, Nature North West again highlighted the importance of conservation and Jason Black shared his story and how nature and the outdoors was his saviour.
Catherine McLaughlin, Research and Planning Officer with Trail Gazers explained how the toolkit pulls together into one place all the tools and key learning from the project. She said that the digital format would make it easy to access, download and share.
Trail Gazers was situated at 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 Wildfowl Reserve’ in Donegal.
Project Manager for Trail Gazers, Mary McBride from Donegal County Council said: “Iit is very rewarding to see all the project work published in one document which will be a vital resource for community groups and policy makers going forward.
“The shared learning gives us great insights on best practice. This will be a very adaptable resource which can be applied to any trail or tourism site in our county.”