Management Plan for Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Front (left to right): Sperrins Partnership Chair Councillor Sean Clarke and Michael Gillespie NIEA (Northern Ireland Environment Agency). Back (left to right): Causeway Coast and Glens Richard Gillen Coast and Countryside Manager, Ciara Toner Sperrins Partnership Project Officer, Mid Ulster District Council Martha Beattie Tourism Officer, Louise McDermot Sperrins Partnership Administration Officer, Derry City and Strabane District Council Philip McShane, Rural Tourism Officer, and Dearbháile Hutchinson, Sperrin AONB Project Officer.

Management Plan aims to reach new heights for Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Sperrins Partnership, a cross council led project including Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council,  Derry City and Strabane District Council, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Mid Ulster District Council, has announced details for the  development of the first Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Management Plan. The plan is an extension of work conducted through the Sperrins Future Search initiative in 2017 Reaching New Heights, Realising Our Potential.

The plan will be developed by Sperrins Partnership in consultation with all key partners on behalf of Northern Ireland Environment Agency, an agency within the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) who are also the project funder. It will also place local communities at the centre of its development. 

The aim of the plan is to provide guidance on a shared vision for safeguarding and caring for the Sperrins.  It will outline strategies, priorities and mechanisms for protecting, promoting and enhancing the special features of the landscape, related heritage and culture as well as boost nature recovery. A guideline framework for action will recognise and support efforts of partners in line with their own remits and resources.

It will also help guide efforts to conserve, enhance, and support, the special character of Sperrin AONB and its natural, built, and cultural heritage.  The plan will seek support for local communities to benefit from the AONB, while championing long term sustainability and conservation efforts.

An extensive consultation exercise which is part of the plan development phase, is underway, and a number of public events will take place across council areas throughout May and June. Key stakeholders and local communities are encouraged to take part and share their views on the development of the plan. 

Sperrin AONB is one of eight AONB across Northern Ireland that was first designated in 1968 and to date has not benefitted from a management plan unlike the other AONB across the region.

(left-right) Sperrins Partnership Chair Councillor Sean Clarke and Michael Gillespie NIEA (Northern Ireland Environment Agency).

Chair of Sperrins Partnership, Councillor Sean Clarke, said:
“This will be the first management plan for the Sperrins following 56 years since it was originally designated by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) as a special landscape, back in 1968. The management plan will be developed on behalf of DAERA and Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) through extensive consultation with key stakeholders and local communities with the aim to identify the issues facing the area’s exceptional natural environment, and to help ensure that everyone who lives, works or visits can learn from and enjoy the place sustainably.”





Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council

Tuesday 21st May – Glenshane Community Development, Dungiven – 12noon – 2pm

Thursday 23rd May – Glór Dhún Geimhin, Dungiven - 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Derry City and Strabane District Council

Tuesday 28th May – Glenelly House, Plumbridge - 12noon to 2pm

Thursday 30th May – Learmount Resource Centre, Park - 6.30pm to 8.30pm

Fermanagh Omagh District Council

Tuesday 4th June – An Creagan, Omagh - 12noon to 2pm

Thursday 6th June – Gortin Community Centre, Gortin - 6.30pm to 8.30pm

Mid Ulster District Council

Tuesday 11th June – Broughderg Hall, Broughderg, Omagh– 12noon to 2pm

Thursday 13th June – An Carn, Maghera – 6.30pm to 8.30pm