Outdoors: On the trail of William Carleton and how you could help the red kite

Actor Ian McElhinney, centre, with members of the William Carleton Summer School at the new panel at Clogher Primary School which marks start of the Carleton Trails

A SERIES of new literary trails inspired by the 19th century author William Carleton have been launched in Clogher.

Developed by Mid Ulster District Council, the way-marked trail extends over 48kms in Co Tyrone's Clogher Valley, offering walkers a choice of three routes to explore the landscape, history and architecture of the area which was home to Carleton (1794-1869) in the early part of his life and inspired much of his work.

The trails, which start and end at Clogher Primary School, all have information panels at intervals to provide historical context. They are suitable for seasoned walkers, who can complete the entire trail, as well as for anyone who prefers to experience them in shorter stages.

The trails which represent an investment of £20,000, were launched at the start of the annual William Carleton Summer School by council, chairwoman Kim Ashton.

Guides to the new walking trail are available from Visitor Information Centres and can be downloaded from

Red kite volunteers

RSPB NI is calling for the help of members of the public in monitoring Northern Ireland's red kite population. The north has been home to the raptors for nine years now since their reintroduction in 2008 thanks to RSPB NI, the Golden Eagle Trust and the Welsh Kite Trust.

However, the region's red kite population is small and vulnerable to persecution and natural losses – just last month a young red kite was shot dead in Moneyslane, Co Down.

RSPB NI new RKites Project is specifically geared towards safeguarding the species.

“We need active ‘on the ground' volunteers to help monitor red kites across counties Down and Armagh,” Alan Ferguson of RSPB NI said. “We need to find out where their territories are, where they nest, and where they roost so we can accurately monitor their population.

“This is a great opportunity to put your skills to the test and learn some new ones. Species recognition, record-keeping and attention to detail are important aspects of this role, but full training and mentoring will be provided.”

:: For more information on putting your name forward to become a red kite volunteer, contact RSPB NI's RKites project officer Alan on 0752 7665 668 or email

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