ASCENT - European upland areas


ASCENT, a new innovative project to collectively address the environmental challenges facing seven northern European upland areas, is a three year project and involves Donegal County Council as lead partner, working collaboratively with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and the Mourne Heritage Trust in Northern Ireland, Metsähallitus Park and Wildlife in Finland, Hordaland County Council in Norway, and the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland along with associated partners including Údarás na Gaeltachta, Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust, Mossfellsbær Municipality and Skaftárhreppur.

Unregulated access to upland sites and natural erosion has meant that some areas of natural beauty have experienced degradation, loss of unique bio-diversity and bio-resources. In response, the ASCENT project, an acronym for ‘Apply Skills and Conserve our Environment with New Tools’ sets out to develop management plans and implement innovative measures that will address future economic and environmental sustainability

The total budget for this project in Newry, Mourne and Down is €311,000.

Getting woolly in Norway

October 1, 2018

ASCENT Project Partners came together in Odda, Norway in September 2018 in order to share knowledge and discuss common challenges for upland management faced across all countries within the Northern Periphery and Arctic Circle.

Norwegian hosts from Hordaland County Council were particularly keen to learn about Irish ‘Sheep’s Wool’ paths, which were traditionally used to ‘float’ pathways over bogs and deep peat. This trip formed part of a wider aspiration to share knowledge and engage more closely with land management bodies on an international level.

This will help develop strategic solutions for conservation of upland areas in the face of widespread challenges such as habitat decline, increased tourism and climate change. The ASCENT project includes project partners from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Finland.

Closer to home, Horticulture Students from Clanrye Group have taken on a new challenge assisting the ASCENT Slieve Gullion Upland Path Team repair sections of erosion along the Slieve Gullion Summit Path using hand tools and traditional techniques. This work is being carried out as part of an Interreg IV funded project known as ASCENT, which aims to explore sustainable solutions to protecting upland areas.

It is hoped in 2019 that we will be creating a regular Thursday path days for volunteers with a training course in February to incentivise participants. Watch this space!


Visitors from the North to Gullion and Mourne

Newry, Mourne and Down set to host international ASCENT Partners

Welcome to the Spring edition of ASCENT’s digital newsletter!

Passing on our learning

South to North summit trail moves a step closer

Beginning our ASCENT

Sign up and stay up to date with our newsletter.

Sign up to ensure that you don’t miss out on any Ring of Gullion, Strangford Lough & Lecale Partnership, and Mourne Mountains Heritage Trust news and events!

Related Projects


AONB Youth Ranger Programme

About the programme This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in the environment to get out and explore these special landscapes. Led by qualified and experienced outdoor leaders, the programme will provide young people with meaningful and fun activities...


Atlantic CultureScape

Background The Atlantic Culturescape project was launched in 2019 and co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the INTERREG Atlantic Area programme. This programme promotes transnational cooperation among 36 Atlantic regions within six European countries and co-finances projects...


Dragons in the Hills

Dragons in the Hills has been awarded £100,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, to find out more about Northern Ireland’s own little dragons – our three native amphibians and reptiles: common frog, common lizard and smooth newt. Although two of...