£250k spruce up of Gilford Riverside Trail

Patricia Sands, Vice Chair of Gilford Forum; Chairman of the SOAR LAG, Cllr Gordon Kennedy; Lord Mayor Alderman Gareth Wilson and Elaine Cullen (Rural Programme Manager) Picture: Philip Magowan
Patricia Sands, Vice Chair of Gilford Forum; Chairman of the SOAR LAG, Cllr Gordon Kennedy; Lord Mayor Alderman Gareth Wilson and Elaine Cullen (Rural Programme Manager) Picture: Philip Magowan

Funding of more than £250k have been earmarked for rejuvenating a derelict stretch of riverside along the River Bann near Gilford.

Spearheaded by Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council, phase two of the Gilford Riverside Trail will be funded with cash from the SOAR (ABC) Village Renewal Measure.

Walkers and cyclists across the Borough will soon have the chance to meander down a picturesque pathway alongside the beautiful Bann River in Gilford, thanks to funding from SOAR (ABC).

Phase 1 was completed in 2014 at Stramore Park, adjacent to Gilford Community Centre on the opposite bank of the river, off Bridge Street.

Phase 2 will connect these lands to Woodlands Park by the creation of an 845m riverside walking and cycling trail.

The project will involve the creation of a short section of walkway over the remains of the old millrace and the construction of a new footbridge across the millrace linking the trail to Woodlands Park.

In addition, Council will undertake associated works to enhance the trail including landscaping, the installation of street furniture, lighting and the provision of interpretative material.

Lord Mayor of Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council, Alderman Gareth Wilson, said: “This development will transform the area and showcase the beautiful surroundings in Gilford.

“I am delighted to see Phase 2 in progress and I look forward to seeing the trail up and running.”

Chairman of the SOAR LAG, Cllr Gordon Kennedy stated “This is a great opportunity for Gilford and exciting times as we move into Phase 2 of the Gilford Riverside Trail.

“This project will help to invigorate the village, contribute to the health and well-being of locals whilst encouraging visitors to enjoy the riverside trail”.

The overall cost of the project is £876,207.

The trail will link the nucleus of the village which developed around the bridge with the Dunbarton area built in the 19th century, to the north of the village, to house workers employed producing linen thread in the adjacent Gilford mill.

The mill continued in business until the late 1980’s.

The route passes over part of the old mill race and land between the river and the in-filled mill pond which was the subject, in recent years, of a land swap back to the Council from the Administrator for Gilford Mill Ltd.

The mill is now in new ownership.