Delight at new Murlough pedestrian access scheme

Delight at new Murlough pedestrian access scheme

13 January 2021

THE completion of an improved pedestrian access at the Twelve Arches entrance to Murlough Nature Reserve outside Newcastle has been welcomed by several politicians who had has asked for the work to be carried out.

Mournes councillors Harold McKee and Glyn Hanna and Slieve Croob’s Alan Lewis are pleased with the completed scheme which also includes a new footpath from an adjacent car park.

While delighted with how quickly the upgrade was completed, the politicians say attention is now switching to a campaign for the speed limit at the busy Dundrum Road — which passes the entrance to the nature reserve — to be reduced to 50mph.

Cllr McKee said that there was a lot of concern about the speed of traffic using the main route into the resort.

“The speed of vehicles is very fast and while speed checks are in place, these are only temporary and available when the so-called speed van is present,” he said. “People have genuine concerns with roads at safety at Murlough. 

“I hope that additional warning signs and a safer crossing will go some way to protecting all who wish to walk enjoy recreation at Murlough.”

Cllr Lewis said he was pleased that after he and Cllr McKee raised safety concerns at the popular visitor spot, the issue was addressed by the Department for Infrastructure and Newry, Mourne and Down Council.

He explained that talks between officials from both organisations focused on extending the footpath from the Twelve Arches car park and a safer pedestrian crossing at the entrance to the National Trust property.

“Warning signs have also be placed on the approach roads either side of this entrance and Harold and I are very impressed with how fast this work has progressed,” said Cllr Lewis.

He added: “Murlough is a popular walking spot and during the summer months in particular,  hundreds of people flock to enjoy the scenic beauty of the area. Unfortunately, this poses inevitable congestion and safety concerns.”

Cllr Lewis added: “I welcome that these improvements are now in place and hope they can make the location more enjoyable for all who use it”.

Cllr Hanna described the safety work as a “massive improvement” with the new footpaths and access to a dedicated crossing point particularly welcome, alongside new signs to warn drivers that there are pedestrians in the area.

“I am very happy to see this work being undertaken along a main road with fast moving traffic,” he said. “I would like to see the speed limit lowered to 50mph with this work ongoing.

“Along with other councillors, I have been lobbying for this work at the Murlough Nature Reserve entrance to be carried out to facilitate those who use the Twelve Arches car park.”