DAERA has announced the commitment of £650,000 for projects to make it easier for people to connect with the natural environment.
The projects will be delivered by not-for-profit organisations and councils working in partnership with local communities and landowners.
Announcing the funding, DAERA Deputy Secretary for Environment, Marine and Fisheries Group, David Small, said: “We are delighted to support the development of these opportunities to explore, connect with and enjoy our living, working, active landscape across Northern Ireland – our coasts, mountains, farmland, designated sites, suburban green space and rivers.
“The funding will enable development of 14km of walking trails and recreation infrastructure being created, restored or improved.
“In addition it will facilitate development of a website to help scuba divers explore our marine habitats, opportunities for angling and research to shape the future development of outdoor recreation facilities.”
For the Bann Valley Community Group this will enable the extension of its very well used community path network developed under a previous Environment Fund grant.
Welcoming the announcement, Bann Valley Community Group’s Aidan McPeake said: “Bann Valley Community Group are delighted to have been awarded this grant aid through the Environment Fund.
“Our Greenway Project has been a huge success so far in creating almost 3.5km of off road, safe pathways to walk, run and cycle through our community.
“The project initially set out to open up old paths which had been used for children getting to school in years gone by and was enhanced by the addition of new river walks to link up the path network.
“The scheme could not have happened if it wasn’t for the partnership working which took place with all the landowners, Clady Angling Club, Mid-Ulster Council, local schools, Bann Valley Community Group and DAERA our funders.
“The next phase of Greenway will help link the two villages, Inishrush and Clady, with the pathway to increase accessibility and user numbers and enhance the health and well-being opportunities for all the people of our community.”