LK Green Connect gets the green light in Co. Donegal

By We Love Cycling

Residents of Letterkenny – Co. Donegal’s largest town – are about to get moving in a whole new way. A refreshed walking, cycling and public realm infrastructure is in the pipeline; last month, Phase 1 of LK Green Connect commenced with elected members of the Municipal District turning the sod on the welcomed development.

The project, co-funded by Donegal County Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, is a major element within the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, part of Project Ireland 2040. The aim of this project is to deliver new jobs, new homes, heighten cultural and social amenities, enhance regional connectivity and improve environmental sustainability across the State – and it’s certainly good to see cycling play a key role in the plans!

On yer bike

Avid cyclists and walkers will be well served, with a series of routes which weave through the now under-construction urban wetland, connecting many areas of the suburbs with the historic focal point of the bustling town centre. By mirroring similar European examples such as the London Wetland Centre and Finland’s Kirkkojarvi Flood Park, the project will transform the way people travel around the local area. Jack Murray, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council said that the regeneration project will strengthen Donegal’s largest town and regional hub, positioning it as an “attractive, accessible and thriving place.”

Other elements of LK Green Connect include a pedestrian walkway, in addition to refreshed landscaping, public lighting and street furniture, which aspires to create an environment which is people-centric, optimising the everyday experience for local residents, as well as unlocking economic opportunities for the town’s businesses.

An engaging and inspirational place to be

The emphasis on sustainability is a vital component to the whole project, and is designed to feed into the multitude of benefits the improvements to the town centre will bring across education, health and community.

The creation of an urban wetland concept, by transforming unused land into a multi-purpose area for tourism, recreation, accessibility and wildlife purposes, will be the most striking part of the transformation. Hailed as an ‘engaging and inspirational place to be’, the focus on nature aims to capture the public’s imagination – and change life in the region for the better.

With climate change posing an ever-growing threat to the community, it also provides a vital opportunity to utilise the currently undeveloped habitat along the Isle Burn to play a role in the absorption of excess water. The local Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Study (CFRAM) concluded that coastal flooding is likely to severely impact Letterkenny Town Centre in the years ahead, so it’s clear something must be done.

Find out more information about the project and keep up to date with its development at Letterkenny 2040.

Get in the saddle

Of course, the development of Letterkenny as a draw for pedal pushers is just the latest chapter in something of a cycling love story; the majestic county of Donegal has been confirmed as a firm favourite by many riders, with the area already providing a whole host of breathtaking cycle routes and amenities to enjoy.

If you’re looking for a real challenge, the 200km Donegal Cycle Route promises an exhilarating itinerary. A section of EuroVelo 1, this journey showcases the best of Donegal’s stunning coastline and will see you cycle through the hubs of Letterkenny and Dungloe to name a few.

For an easier route suited to beginners and those who want to opt for a more leisurely cycle, the 24km Lough Eske-Donegal Town Loop will see you navigate the shores of Lough Eske, a small lake nestled at the foot of the Blue Stack Mountains. Finishing up in Donegal Town, the nearby sandy beaches make for the perfect end to your day!

Take a look at Go Visit Donegal for more cycling routes, amenities and places to explore whilst you’re in the area.

Opting for a staycation this year? We give you the lowdown on how you can experience a beautiful sustainable cycling holiday in nearby Connemara!