‘Deliver’ Derry-Inishowen greenway

The potential Greenway route.
The potential Greenway route.

A 97km greenway, which begins and ends in Derry and encompasses the Inishowen peninsula will have huge benefits for both areas, those behind it have said.

The Wee Greenway Initiative has called on the relevant local authorities to liaise with the organisation and local community groups to deliver the proposed route.

The call comes as recent figures show that tourism numbers visiting Inishowen have increased by a massive 35% over 12 months, but further development may be hampered by infrastructure handicaps.

The group told the ‘Journal’ it believes a looped greenway encompassing the Inishowen peninsula - that begins and finishes in Derry - has massive potential, not only to be an important piece of infrastructure for local users and community groups but also as a ‘go-to’ destination for visiting tourists.

Their call comes in the week that a site survey of 27kms on the route, namely between Buncrana and Carndonagh, was completed.

The survey, which was carried out on behalf of the Wee Greenway Initiative by Groundwork NI, was funded by Donegal County Council’s Strategic Development Fund.

It will be published later this year as part of a wider report on the project’s viability.

Ronan Gallagher, a spokesperson for the group said the survey highlighted many key areas and features.

He said: “Apart from over 120 plant species that have been identified in this section alone, including a rare orchid not normally found in the area, we have mapped numerous landmarks of cultural and historical importance.”

“There are also habitats of high ecological value, namely semi-natural ash-hazel woodland, undisturbed stream corridors and species-rich dry and wet grassland’, he continued.

He concluded: “The development of a greenway in Derry and Inishowen has the potential to build on the success of the Wild Atlantic Way, whilst encouraging people to think about how they travel to and from home, as well as offering a healthier lifestyle for users, particularly schoolchildren.”

The Wee Greenway Initiative was established in 2014 to develop the idea of building a flagship greenway around Inishowen. The greenway would begin in Derry, running through Bridgend, Fahan, Buncrana, Clonmany, Carndonagh, Gleneely, Moville, Redcastle and Muff.

On FaceBook, the campaign now has more than 1,300 supporters.