What is the Project?

Donegal County Council with the support of Transport Infrastructure Ireland is working to provide commuters and leisure cyclists with a corridor linking the town of Donegal to the towns of Ballybofey/Stranorlar in South County Donegal.

The Barnesmore Gap Greenway project will seek to provide both long and short-distance recreational users and commuters with safe, convenient opportunities to travel along the route. It is anticipated that the provision of a greenway in this location will provide enhanced access to the wider region, enticing users to explore its surrounding towns and villages and further develop the untapped tourism potential within the region.

What is a Greenway?

The Department of Transport’s Code of Best Practice for National and Regional Greenways describes a Greenway is an attractive trail mainly used for recreational purposes by pedestrians, cyclists and people with impaired mobility, and as such promotes physical activity for these users. 

The popularity of recently opened Greenways throughout Ireland demonstrates the many benefits that they can promote, including the provision of safe, substantially segregated walking and cycling infrastructure that makes it easier to visit friends, travel to school or work and to connect villages and towns.

On a wider scale, Greenways are providing opportunities to experience Ireland’s beautiful countryside for both visitors and locals alike, contributing to Ireland’s health and wellbeing, enhancing local communities with opportunities for new and existing businesses, and offering sustainable alternatives for tourists and locals to access a hidden Ireland.

How can the public participate?
The project team are committed to fully consider any inputs from members of the public, such as submissions received through the public consultation process or through the identification of local issues. We would value any feedback which you think should be reviewed by the project team to help inform the development of the project. Please refer to Public Consultation 3 of this Project Website for information on how you can have your say.
Will this project affect the planning application process in the area?
Donegal County Council has responsibility for planning and managing development within the study area. Planning applications and new developments may still be granted within the study area, however as some planning applications may affect the project, all relevant planning applications will be reviewed by the project team. Each planning application will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
How will land be acquired?
It is anticipated that the use of state-owned lands (where possible), in conjunction with the lands acquired by Voluntary Agreements, will deliver the majority of the lands required for the Greenway.

Where private land acquisition is necessary following the selection of the preferred route corridor, the project promoter will engage with individual landowners in an effort to agree upon a route that minimises the impact on their respective farm / property holdings and enter into Voluntary Land Acquisition Agreements where possible. The process of agreeing upon Voluntary Land Acquisition Agreements will be initiated in advance of an application for planning consent.

For further guidance and information, please refer to the recently published (December 2021) Code of Best Practice for National and Regional Greenways and associated Greenway Sustainability Payment documents which can be accessed here.

How will the risk of Crime/Anti-Social Behaviour be managed?
The Barnesmore Gap Greenway will be managed and maintained by the council who will put in place appropriate measures to minimise anti-social behaviours. The council will work closely with key stakeholders, for example the Gardaí, which follows the examples set by other greenway projects implemented to date.