WHILE work on Phase 1 of the Gort River walk has been delayed due to Covid-19, the overseeing development group has been busy planning Phase 2, which includes an upgrade to an old footbridge in Lavally.
Phase 1 has been funded by the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS), but Phase 2 is looking to advance planning permission and depending on funds application for match funding using Rural Regeneration or ORIS schemes again.
“There is so much potential for this amenity,” highlight ed David Murray, chair of the group. “We have an old walking route of significant heritage and natural value right at our doorstep and with very little investment we could have a 3.4km loop from the centre of Gort along the river”
In recent times, the walk was heavily used by the community as it dealt with Covid-19 restrictions and it’s become a very active route at weekends.
“We have a plan for Phase 1 to enhance the current trail on the north-east side of the river and make it safer and more accessible and with easing of restrictions we will be hoping that this can get underway in the coming weeks.
“This trail enhancement will make it safer, more accessible and include a chipped path, trail furniture, signposts and better access as well as increasing quality of the pound road,” said David.
The team has been doing a lot of pre-work for the next phase, which includes getting planning permission and funding for the upgrading of a footbridge to complete a full loop.
“Our goal here is to restore what was once a lovely looped walk around Gort that includes upgrading a footbridge that was installed in 1975 by two visionary locals – Vinnie Moloney and Jack Williams.
“We are hoping to push forward with our plans, which will be to get planning permission and grants for footbridge and trail upgrade, and we need support and participation from our community in order to make this happen,” said David.
Because of current restrictions the group has launched an online funding campaign through GoFundme. More details can be found on the Facebook page Gort River Walk.