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Datenbank der Projekte zur ländlichen Entwicklung

Countryside Access and Activities Network


The RDP, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Down District Council funded the creation of a new network of off-road trails through one of Northern Ireland’s most scenic landscapes, capitalising on the tourism potential of Castle Ward Demesne.


In the picturesque setting of parkland, forest and farmland on the shores of Strangford Lough, Castle Ward Demesne has been attracting visitors for many years. The estate boasts an 18th Century mansion house, exotic gardens, stunning mixed woodland, a children’s adventure play area and access to Strangford Lough.


This project aimed to capitalise on the natural beauty of the Demesne by creating a new network of off-road trails, through one of Northern Ireland’s most scenic landscapes. This would hopefully boost local use and the tourism potential of the area.

Main activities

The activities of the project involved small infrastructure works for the creation of the off-road trails, which were meticulously designed by trail developer Dafydd Davis MBE who has designed sustainable off-road trails all over the world.

Results & Benefits

This project resulted in almost 21 miles of trails leading through the picturesque area, incorporating Northern Ireland’s first long-distance, cross-country mountain biking trail and other sustainable tracks for horse riders, walkers and runners alike, which are available for all to enjoy. There is also an all-ability path constructed along the shores of Strangford Lough, suitable for buggies and prams as well as wheelchair users and those with limited mobility.

Lessons learnt

This project has shown that support from key regional level tourism related organisations may be fundamental for the success of a project. This is shown in the fact that the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Down District Council provided both financial and conceptual support to the project.

Project location and other information

Castle Ward, Strangford


Northern Ireland

RDP Territory

Northern Ireland

EAFRD contribution (€)

100 694

Contact name

Aileen Donnelly


+44 28 8676 6980

Languages for contact


At a glance


United Kingdom

Final beneficiary type

Non-farm or non-forest entreprises

Budget range

€100 000 - €500 000

Start date:


Theme / Measure:

• Rural Quality of Life & Economic Diversification
• Rural economic diversification
• 313. Encouragement of tourism activities


Historical site, Rural tourism, Cultural heritage, Leader, Natural heritage

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