New facilities to enhance visitor experience to Ness Country Park

Date published: 11 June 2019

Visitor experience to Ness Country Park in Claudy will be enhanced through a new riverside pathway and playpark, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced.


The new pathway is open, replacing the pathway that was destroyed following the flooding in August 2017. Construction work on the bespoke children’s play park is now underway and is due to be completed by early August 2019.

The country park is managed by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

Announcing the improvements Adam Reid, NIEA, said: “We are pleased to announce these exciting new development plans, which will improve the experience of visitors to the park.

“During the flash flooding which occurred across the North West during August 2017 a section of riverside pathway, which led from the main Visitor Centre area to the Ness Wood area of the property, was extensively damaged in parts.

“Through agreement with an adjacent landowner, who has been extremely supportive, we have been able to complete works to reinstate public access between the main Visitor Centre area and the Ness Wood area of the park. We are pleased to confirm this pathway is now open.

“We have also been busy over the quieter visitor months improving public access facilities by replacing steps within Ness Wood which were in need of replacement due to deterioration in their condition.

“The new play park, which will be ready for public use by early August 2019, will capture the imagination of younger visitors to the site by providing play opportunities which link to some of the habitats and species found in the park. The play park has been designed for two age categories in mind – two and over and eight and over.

“The play park will include bespoke elements such as a woodland village, giant bluebells, giant carved animals such as a salmon and red squirrels, basket swings, a pendulum swing, a bespoke seating shelter and a large riverbed scramble which is inspired by the river and waterfall which runs through Ness Country Park.

“The development has been designed with all abilities in mind to provide play opportunities for all. The play park surface will be finished with a bonded rubber mulch, to give a natural look finish, but also to allow for access for wheel chair users and prams with elements such as the basket swing and a sensory area suitable for use by all.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency manages seven Country Parks and approximately 65 Nature Reserves across Northern Ireland.
  2. Ness Country Park is situated near Claudy just off the main Glenshane Road from which it is sign posted.
  3. The play park will be developed in the meadow area to the rear of the park visitor centre.
  4. Ness Wood was established after land was purchased in 1967, with the additional purchases of land from 1975 onwards realising the development of Ervey Wood, further enhanced with land purchase in 2005 creating an extension of what is now known as Ness Country Park, opened in July 2009 which includes Ness Wood, Ervey Wood and Donaghy’s farm.
  5. The site is 55 Ha with over five kilometres of pathways leading through the Ness and Ervey Woods as well as around the meadow at the main visitor centre area.
  6. Entry to the Country Park is free. Free car parking is also available on site during Park opening hours.
  7. The Play Park development is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. It is being take forward by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) in conjunction with the Construction and Procurement Delivery (CPD) via the appointed contractors Lowrys and the specialist playground company Infinite Playgrounds.
  8. For further information about other NIEA managed properties, please visit the Discover NI website.
  9. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook.
  10. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or via email. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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