Trail Gazers and Inch Levels will feature on National Airwaves this week.
The Donegal County Council led EU Project Trail Gazers and its pilot trail in Donegal, the magnificent Inch Levels, will be featured on RTE’s Nationwide programme on Wednesday 18th November as part of a special countywide series of features on Donegal. RTÉ One’s Nationwide programme is celebrating Donegal with four full programmes on the county this week. Presenters Anne Cassin and Bláthnaid Ní Chófaigh have been up and down the county finding interesting stories and people and filming in beautiful locations for this week's special programmes and Trail Gazers at Inch Levels is delighted to be chosen as one of the highlighted stories.
Inch Levels is one of Ireland’s most historic walkways is in the northwest where Lough Swilly in Donegal once met Lough Foyle in Derry. In the 1800s the marshy wastelands were transformed into a fertile plain in one of the most ambitious land reclamation projects on these islands. Today the area is home to an array of migrating birds and wild fowl and today hundreds of walkers and cyclists are drawn here to enjoy the Inch Level Trail. The segment which showcases stunning camera shots of Inch and the surrounding countryside, features reporter Mary Harte speaking with Mary Daly from the Trail Gazers Project, Donegal County Council, National Parks Ranger, Martin Toye and local historian and user of the trail, Dessie McCallion.
The interviews will feature information about the renewed interest in Walking and Cycling Trails, the wildfowl which can be seen in the area and the importance of the Trail Gazers project. It’s not just about the trail anymore, it really is all about building up an experience and that is where Trail Gazers comes in.
Trail Gazers is being piloted at Inch, one of eight locations in Europe (only 2 of which are in Ireland) – it is working to stimulate rural economic development by linking investments made by local authorities into walking and recreational infrastructure to the surrounding small towns and villages; encouraging footfall into these places to explore, experience and enjoy – thereby sustaining local communities.
Local players are key to the success of this project. By developing a bespoke community trail plan and animating local people to become ‘community trail ambassadors’ or custodians of these natural sites – Trail Gazers aims to reignite ambition for the area and that one person can make a difference and become the difference in that community!
Speaking about the feature which will be aired on RTE, Project Manager Loretta McNicholas said ‘this perfectly captured not only the beauty of Inch but the importance of Trail Gazers to the area and the potential for the local rural economy’.
This project was championed by the Research and Policy Unit, Economic Development, Donegal County Council - Trail Gazers will guide future investment in walking and cycling trails and this new model can be applied to trail sites throughout our county and to all our partner regions.