Local communities and organisations including the Sligo Greenway Co-op have been to the fore in developing the idea of a Greenway from Bellaghy to Collooney. While this project will utilise works previously undertaken it will formally appraise all viable options that would provide an off-road public walking / cycling trail linking these townlands to ensure that advantages and disadvantages of the various options are considered, and the emerging preferred option represents the best solution.
Project Specific Need
The need for the Sligo Greenway is underpinned by the necessity to provide facilities which enable physical activity in a safe environment for all, by the need to connect rural communities using sustainable modes for short trips and strengthen rural economies and communities, whilst enhancing amenity and heritage. The surrounding areas contain attractive scenery and an opportunity for users to interact with nature whilst benefitting from outdoor activity.
The Sligo Greenway could form an integral part of the County Cycle Network Plans currently under development as it has the potential to link into the proposed Sligo, Leitrim, Northern Counties Railway (SLNCR) Greenway at Collooney to provide a branch off the EuroVelo 1 – The Atlantic Coast Route and the Wild Atlantic Way.
The development of the Sligo Greenway will increase the region’s outdoor recreation infrastructure and boost its reputation as a destination for adventure activity and tourism. In doing so, the Greenway will offer a significant opportunity to increase visitor numbers, which will have a positive impact
upon rural communities and economies and will encourage the development of a tourism-based industry in the area.
It will aid connectivity to local attractions and cultural heritage sites such as the Sligo Way, Knocknashee Megalithic Site, Markree Castle, Banada Abbey and Peace Park, Sligo Folk Park, and the proposed National Mountain Bike Centre at Coolaney.
The Greenway will be Scenic, Sustainable, Substantially Segregated and Shared Use, Strategic and Offer lots to See and Do. It will provide an excellent experience for all visitors and will be a significant tourist attraction for international and local visitors.
- To increase the economic contribution of tourism to the Irish economy, by increasing the numbers of visitors to the area, by delivering the Greenway that is attractive by international standards.
- To increase the number of people using active travel modes, which are either free or low cost and beneficial to health, meeting the target of a significant increase in mode share by 2040.
- To investigate links to other existing and proposed Greenways within the area and connect to tourist activities and attractions such as historic and cultural heritage sites, the Coolaney National Mountain Bike Centre, the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.
- To provide opportunities to enhance the local amenity and heritage value of the area and increase public appreciation of the natural environment and cultural heritage, by encouraging people to walk and cycle.