£1m 'glamping' site for Glenariff Forest Park
FOR campers loath to leave their home comforts behind, a new £1 million high-end caravan and camping facility at Glenariff Forest Park may be the ticket to a perfect holiday.
A new 'glamping' site which will include provision for nine pods and pitches for 36 caravans and camper vans, is set to open this autumn in the popular Co Antrim attraction.
Agriculture minister Michelle O'Neill announced the construction of the 'glamorous camping' amenity as part of a £4 million scheme to develop 'forest based tourism' by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Dard).
The construction contract has been awarded to Cleary Contracting, with additional works to include imp r o v e m e n t s to access at the entrance to the park which covers 1,000 hectares and features an innovative rain water harvesting system in a new 'ablution block'.
Welcoming the start of the project, Ms O'Neill, pictured, said there was "considerable interest" across the north in camping and caravan breaks and "this very exciting project at Glenariff will certainly add a bit of glamour to the experience".
She said: "It also builds on the partnership developed between the Forest Service and Moyle District Council and we now look forward to cementing the relationship between my department and the new Causeway Coast and Glens District Council."
Outgoing council members had shown "great vision", she added, in recognising the scope for forests to contribute to tourism development and advancing plans to allow improvements to take place.
Paying tribute to the work done by Glenariff Improvement Group and the collaborative approach adopted for the scheme, the minister said the group's 'Digital Glenariff' project would capture "real-time images of the forest eco-system" and make them accessible to visitors through the visitor hub buildings.
"These projects will contribute significantly to the development of tourism potential in the Antrim coast and glens area and are an important part of Dard's forest recreation strategy," she said.