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28/02/23 Trail Gazers – The Legacy

Trail Gazers


An innovative multi-million euro walking and recreational trails project at eight European locations, where Donegal County Council was the lead partner, launches its final toolkit on Wednesday 8th March in An Grianan Hotel, Burt.

The Atlantic Area Trail Gazers Project included trails in spectacular locations from Donegal to Portugal. The Trail Gazers project aimed to determine the impact of significant investment which was made over the years into developing walking and recreational trails across the Atlantic Area on sustaining rural communities and explored innovative ways that this impact can be enhanced.  

As part of Enterprise Week 2023, Trail Gazers, will host a Social Enterprise event to launch the culmination of the work and research carried out on the project over the past 3 years.  The toolkit, entitled, Trail Gazers – The Legacy outlines all the learning and tools developed as part of the project all packaged into one easy to access Toolkit! From digital marketing to trail management, destination packaging and creating action plans for the wider catchment this Toolkit will be a valuable resource to all those interested in developing walking trails.

The event takes place in An Grianan Hotel, Burt - Wednesday 8th March starting at 11AM with guest speakers including:


Killian McLaughlin, Wild Ireland

In 2019, solicitor Killian McLaughlin opened a wildlife sanctuary in his native Donegal. Just over 4 years on, the ‘Bearman of Buncrana’ will share his insights with us in relation to opening Wild Ireland and while it was never about making money, he has developed Wild Ireland in the visitor attraction market. Killian will share his highs, lows and discuss the importance of highlighting other activities in the area to visitors.




Aengus Kennedy, Nature North West

Aengus Kennedy has worked in the area of environmental education for the last 15 years, self-employed at Nature North West for the last nine.   Aengus will discuss the importance of biodiversity to preserve our walking trails and natural resources to drive local rural economies.


Aengus Kennedy



Jason Black, Adventurer

Jason Black’s experience is passionate and honest. His attitude empowers business and business leaders, Government policy makers, Sports teams and organisations. Jason’s real-life story deals with the spoils and effects of life and how he climbed out of the gutter of life is a true survival story, it’s so powerful and inspirational that it will leave you speechless. Jason, with his love of the great outdoors, will officially launch Trail Gazers Toolkit and share how he has now developed a business using our natural resources - Walking Trails.


Jason Black



After our seminar, we invite participants to come and visit the trail at Inch Wildfowl Reserve and see the Trail Gazers tools in action, meeting point for this element of the event is the Pumphouse Car Park, Burt at 12.45 p.m.


Bikes will be provided for site visit – please register here:


Trail Gazers was situated at eight pilot trail sites in 'Chemin De Mémoires', in Bretagne, France; ‘Via Verde del Plazola' in Navarra, Spain; 'La Caldera de Taburiente’ on the Canary Island of Las Palma; the 'Seven Hanging Valleys' in the Algarve, Portugal; 'Sacred Mountain' in Viana do Castelo, Northern Portugal; the ‘Taff Trail’ in  West Wales and the Valleys;  the ‘Knocknarea/Killaspugbrone loop‘ in Sligo and 'Inch Wildfowl Reserve’ in Donegal.


Project Manager for Trail Gazers, Mary McBride from Donegal County Council said ‘it is very rewarding to see all the project work published in one document which will be a vital resource for community groups and policy makers going forward.  The shared learning gives us great insights on best practice.’


For more information on the Trail Gazers project, check out our website  Trail Gazers is co-financed by the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme through the European Regional Development Fund.


For more information the Trail Gazers please contact:


Mary Daly 087/6782196 [email protected]


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