Mournes Path Project
A natural beauty spot and source of literary inspiration, the Mournes are home to a varied range of rare plants and habitats which the National Trust works to look after on the highest parts of Donard and Commedagh.
The delicate montane and dry heath, blanket bog, and specialised species which thrive there are part of why the mountains have been designated as a Special Area of Conservation.
Although the Mournes have always been popular with walkers, in recent years the visitor numbers have been increasing. As this has happened, the delicate ecosystem of the Mournes has started to show signs of wear and tear and that’s where the Mourne Rangers come in. As part of the plan to create a sustainable path on Slieve Donard, we started a two year project in 2018 which has now been extended thanks to funding from DAERA. The rangers have been working to repair ‘braided’ tracks, where walkers have created multiple routes and re-landscaping some of the areas around the upland paths to ensure protection of the surrounding environment.
The Mourne Rangers have the best ‘office’ view in Northern Ireland as they work on a project to repair pathways on Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh. To date, the Rangers have repaired nearly 1.5km of path along the Glen River path and Bloody Bridge path and re-landscaped areas around the upland plaths with the view to restoring three hectares of priority habitat.
Working in all weather conditions, the Rangers and a team of hardy volunteers have been manually repairing the popular paths, but recently they've needed a bit of help in the form of a helicopter to lift nearly 190 tons of recycled stones onto the mountain.
The stones have been lifted to selected locations along the pathway and were locally sourced from the three disused quarries on the mountain owned by the Trust and will allow for the restoration of another 320m of path leading to the summit of Slieve Donard, thanks to new grant funding from DAERA's Environment fund.