Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA has cut the first sod on a project that will form part of a wider £1.5 million investment to boost rural tourism in Co. Antrim.

Magheracross viewpoint, situated on the Causeway Coast Way, a walking trail stretching from Portstewart to Ballycastle will receive £500,000 to be redeveloped.

This will include two accessible viewing platforms extending out to the edge of the cliffs, maximising the stunning views of Whiterocks beach and Dunluce Castle.

New pathways will also be constructed, in addition to new parking facilities and soft landscaping.

The project is funded through the Rural Tourism Scheme of DAERA’s Rural Development Programme.

The Magheracross project is part of an overall funding allocation of £1.5 million under the Rural Development Programme, aimed at enhancing tourism in the Causeway Coast area.

Following the sod-cutting ceremony, Minister Poots said: “Tourism is vitally important to our rural economy and the competitive nature of the tourism marketplace, over the next few years, cannot be underestimated.

“I’m therefore delighted to be announcing the redevelopment of the Magheracross site. This area will serve as another must-see destination for tourists arriving to our stunning North Coast.

It is clear that the creation of visitor experiences that showcase our natural landscape and are compelling and accessible to all can offer long term sustainability and growth for rural tourism in Northern Ireland.

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Alderman Mark Fielding said: “This project will create a world-class visitor experience, delivering an accessible, unique and innovative offering which complements the unique geography of the area.

“I would like to sincerely thank the Minister and his staff for their support through the Rural Development Programmes Strategic Tourism Scheme, as well as the Landfill Community Fund for its generous contribution.

This will allow the council to continuously work towards improving our public realm infrastructure, for the benefit of the local community, visitors and the rural economy.

“Along with other improvement projects funded by DAERA, including that at Portaneevy between Ballycastle and Ballintoy, we want to enhance the attractiveness of the wider area and complement our existing tourism experience which helps to make our destination so special.”