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ASCENT

ASCENT Hiker 

 

ASCENT is an EU funded project, led by Donegal County Council working with partners in five European countries across seven sites.  The objective of the project is to combine the skills of each region to develop new ways to conserve the natural environment in seven areas of natural beauty in each of these European countries in a way that is sustainable.  Errigal in the Derryveagh Mountains is the upland area that this project will focus on in Donegal.

 

Errigal Mountain

 

Errigal Mountain

 

Errigal Mountain is an iconic landmark and at 751 metres high, dominates the natural landscape of the north west of Donegal. Over the last 20 years, Errigal has become a popular destination for hill walkers challenged to ascend the highest peak in the County and to experience the panoramic views from its summit extending across the Derryveagh Mountains and the Poisoned Glen, to the Donegal Gaeltacht communities and its coastal villages dappled along the Wild Atlantic Way.   In 2016, Errigal hosted over 30,000 visitors.

 

What is ASCENT?

 

The ASCENT project which is supported by the Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme (2014-2020), is focussed on the protection of uplands and natural areas. Donegal County Council is leading out on this three year project and is working with partners in Finland, Iceland, Northern Ireland and Norway across 7 project sites.  Increased visitor numbers and unregulated access at these sites are causing erosion and environmental challenges that need to be addressed.

 

ASCENT 379 x 102

 

At a local level Donegal County Council is working with the local community in Dunlewey and also the Errigal Stakeholders Group, whose vision is to ‘facilitate the responsible enjoyment of Errigal in a way that protects its special qualities and benefits the local community’. The ASCENT project is the way through which this shared vision will be achieved. 

 

The project commenced on September 1st 2016 and the following will be delivered for Errigal by August 2019:

 

  • Research focussed on the impacts of erosion caused by increased visitors across the mountain.

 

  • A Management Plan to assist and guide the community and the Errigal stakeholders group in the future management and maintenance of Errigal in a balanced way.

 

  • An upland Path designed by an upland path specialist to withstand the pressures from visitors and to ensure the conservation of the natural environment in the long term.

 

  • Surveys and counters to capture visitor trends and experiences visiting Errigal

 

  • Raising an awareness of the recreational impacts and understanding of the special qualities of Errigal and its vulnerability, through, social media, a website, mapping, imagery and videos.

 

Working with all the partners and stakeholders, in a way that is focussed on promoting sustainable access, ASCENT will make a very positive contribution towards the continued public enjoyment of Errigal, while at the same time safeguarding the mountain for future generations to come.

 

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