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Binevenagh: It’s one of Ulster’s least-known scenic jewels, but all that could soon change

By Linda Stewart

You have probably heard of two of the North Coast’s great landscape jewels — the Causeway Coast and the Antrim Coast and Glens. But what about Binevenagh?

It’s probably the least well known of the Northern Ireland’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Yet those 16,594 acres feature a breathtaking array of landscapes, stretching from the Bann Estuary and Portstewart Strand in the east to the Roe Estuary and shores of Lough Foyle in the west.

The northernmost edge of the Sperrin mountains ends with a range of cliffs overlooking the north Atlantic, plunging to the vast and serene beaches sweeping the north coast.

Binevenagh has even been described as a “mini-Switzerland” with spectacular alpine heights overlooking the vastness of Lough Foyle.

Today, a plan is being launched that maps out the future of Binevenagh AONB, making sure the spectacular landscape that harbours local communities can be passed on to future generations.

The Binevenagh Management Forum joined forces with Translink to unveil its 10-year management plan to Government, business, community education and environment officials, taking them on a NI Railways and Ulsterbus tour to explore the region.

Helen Noble, director of Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust, suggested the huge potential for outdoor activities was a particular strength of the Binevenagh region.

“It’s one of those places that has fantastic potential — it’s a little gem in terms of its beautiful long, sweeping beaches and its mountains. Sometimes I describe it as a mini-Switzerland because it has alpine plants growing up on the heights,

Richard Gillen, chairman, Binevenagh AONB Management Forum, said: “Binevenagh has long been a well-kept secret in Northern Ireland. The wide range of landscapes within a compact area makes it truly unique.

“Our 2030 vision is for a rich tapestry of landscapes and seascapes, where natural, built and cultural heritage is appreciated, conserved and enhanced by both local communities and visitors.”

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