My Department supports the development of outdoor recreation amenities through a suite of programmes such as the Walks Scheme and the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund has also supported a number of significant outdoor recreation amenities.
The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme provides funding for the development and/or enhancement of outdoor recreational infrastructure such as cycleways, walking trails, blueways and mountain access routes in rural areas. Since 2016, my Department has invested €52 million in 747 projects under this scheme.
The 2020 scheme was launched on the 29th May last and is funded by my Department in partnership with Fáilte Ireland. The 2020 scheme has an Exchequer budget of €10 million.
My Department also administers the Walks Scheme under which landholders receive modest payments for maintenance works on approved trails in line with agreed work plans. There are currently 39 trails included in the Walks Scheme and, in December last, it was announced that 10 new trails will be added as part of a phased expansion of the scheme. Work Plans are currently being finalised with the landowners on these trails so that they can be formally included under the scheme.
The Programme for Government contains a commitment to expand the Walks Scheme to achieve a target of 80 trails. A decision in respect of further trails to be added to the scheme will be taken following the completion of an external review of the Walks Scheme which is currently in train.
Funding may also be available for outdoor recreation amenities through my Department’s LEADER Programme. Interested applicants should, in the first instance, contact the relevant LEADER Local Action Group to discuss the eligibility of specific projects and the funding that may be available. Details of all Local Action Groups are on the Gov.ie website at the following link: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c45498-local-action-groups .
Details of projects funded under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund are available at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/7be140-test/.