TOURISM JEWEL

A ONE million pound investment programme is ‘on the cards’ for Drumaheagles Marina and Caravan Park, the jewel in the crown of Ballymoney’s tourist attractions.

The Borough Council is understood to be making preparations to progress two projects to enhance its Marina and Caravan Park on River Bann.

The first scheme is to improve access and erect a multi-purpose building to provide dedicated “wet” facility for Marina users, including reception/information point/interpretative panels and a ‘coffee corner’.

Estimated at a staggering £554,420, with grant bids of £493,614 to the EU Interreg programme and NI Tourist Board, it is hoped that the addition to the tourism complex will commence over the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, another enhancement programme included is a ‘Lower Bann Tourist Project’ at the Drumaheglis site which proposes development of an outdoor activity facility with units for activity providers, camping pods, interpretative panels and downloadable SMART phone apps detailing the history and culture of the area.

This phase of work for which funding of £471,750 has been applied for to the EU Rural Development Programme against an estimated cost of £555,000.

Council has given authority for the establishment of select list of contractors who will be invited to tender for the projects when all approvals are in place.

The award winning caravan park is situated on a beautiful stretch of the Lower River Bann and is the only 5-star caravan and camping site within Northern Ireland featured within caravan club literature.

The riverside location caters for campers, caravaners and water enthusiasts alike and is one of the few public access points to the river. The 16 acre site has 55 fully serviced hard standing pitches, boat park, slipway, jetty, volleyball, table tennis, nature trail, play area, picnic and barbeque areas. The site is also the starting point for a number of identified cycle routes of various lengths and the site is within close proximity of some excellent fishing .

It is one of the few public access slipways along the lower River Bann and is connected by a loop to the famous Causeway Coastal Route. The additional investment by Council, supported by its funders, aims to capture additional tourism spend and visitors.

The site has been Voted Regional Winner Top 100 Caravan Parks, as voted for by Practical Caravan readers.