Full steam ahead at launch to upgrade Delamont Country Park

Full steam ahead at launch to upgrade Delamont Country Park

29 August 2018

THE formal launch has taken place of a major new initiative designed to enhance Delamont Country Park.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council is providing £25,000 to come up with a new masterplan to look at ways of how one of the district’s most popular tourist attractions on the shores of Strangford Lough can become even better.

The new initiative is designed to help maximise the full potential of the sprawling parkland area outside Killyleagh. 

Consultants are to be appointed to help shape the development of the park over the next decade and local people are being encouraged to engage in the process and have their say, outlining how they believe Delamont can become even better.

Council officials say Delamont is “of significant tourism value” and its future development is something they want to get right. In addition to residents being asked for their views, local businesses and all stakeholders will also be consulted.

Discussions about the future of the park outside Killyleagh have already been held with representatives from the Education Authority which runs a very successful outdoor education at Delamont. Several user groups have also been consulted on the way forward.

Agreement to start work on an eagerly-anticipated masterplan and public consultation process came two weeks ago following a proposal by Rowallane councillor, Billy Walker.

He is delighted that after several years campaigning for the park to be upgraded, the local authority shares his view and wants to improve want Delamont has to offer.

“The country park currently attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, but there is growing concern about the lack of things for people to do at what is a stunning location,” said the Rowallane politician.

“More money needs to be invested in new attractions and it is essential local people and interest groups have a key input into the consultation process to help make Delamont even better. There are already stunning picturesque walks, a children’s adventure playground, miniature railway and cafe, but more investment is needed to enhance what the park has to offer.”

Cllr Walker has no doubt that investment in the country park will be “money well spent” and help raise Delamont’s profile, locally and nationally, paving the way for increased visitors.

He has already met with education officials and believes everyone must buy into the country park’s “massive development potential” which he firmly believes will also assist the local economy.

Cllr Walker said a new vision for the future can help propel Delamont to the top of visitors’ wish lists, revealing several people have already approached him with their suggestions for new facilities.

They include a pitch and putt course, bowling green, water sports, dedicated camping site and disc golf, with the Rowallane politician also keen to see the walled garden opened to the public, suggesting it would be a terrific venue for outdoor concerts.

The Rowallane politician said the masterplan can pave the way for new investment and is appealing to people in Killyleagh and other parts of the district to fully engage in the proposed consultation to cement Delamont’s position as “one of the jewels in the district’s tourism crown.”

Cllr Walker added: “The country park is an important tourism asset which needs to be expanded. New investment and expansion is a must.”