Conservation project work to fix path in the Mournes

Conservation project work to fix path in the Mournes

11 September 2019

RANGERS from across National Trust sites have come together to put their collective skills and experience to use for a conservation project at the iconic Glenn River path that leads to Slieve Donard.

Local Trust officials and volunteers who took part in the Mournes project were joined by others from the North Lakes District National Trust footpath team, Mourne Heritage Trust and a mountain path specialist from Upland Access Ltd.

As a conservation charity, the National Trust encourages rangers to meet to share best practice.

This year, the team was tasked to rebuild and future-proof the path to Slieve Donard which has become severely eroded. 

The summit of Slieve Donard sees 100,000 people treading the path each year, meaning conservation work is essential to ensure protection of the surrounding habitat.

The Mourne Mountains have been designated as a Special Area of Conservation by the National Trust, with its rangers working diligently to protect the delicate ecosystem of the Mournes as it has started to show signs of wear and tear.

A two-year initiative, the Mournes Path Project sees rangers repairing ‘braided’ tracks, where walkers have created multiple routes and re-landscaping some of the areas around the upland paths to ensure they are accessible to the public.

Mount Stewart area ranger, Toby Edwards, said rangers generally work on their own in isolated areas or small compact teams. 

“It can be easy to get fixed on working on your own patch, but these meet-ups are a great way to come together to support the already brilliant work that the Mourne Rangers are doing,” he said.

“Work with the rangers from across the other National Trust sites provides the opportunity for the regional teams to get out to different locations together, share experiences, develop and hone their skills.”

Toby added: “For rangers new into the sector they can expand their skills base and for those like myself, it’s a chance to polish up the skills I have already acquired and put them to good use.”

As part of the initiative rangers continued their conservation activities and took the opportunity to carry out night-time species surveys of the Murlough Nature Reserve Dunes.