Funding of £200,000 is to be used to developed plans for eight new traffic-free greenway routes across Northern Ireland.
Five such routes used by walkers and cyclists already exist in Northern Ireland, including the Comber Greenway and the Foyle Valley Cycle Route.
It is hoped a 1,000km network can ultimately be created.
The proposed greenways include new routes from:
- Ballymoney to Ballycastle
- Banbridge to Scarva
- Craigavon to Aghagallon
- Doagh to Larne
- Downpatrick to Comber
- Downpatrick to Newcastle
- Portadown to Caledon via Armagh
- Portadown to Moy
Under the funding announced by the Department for Infrastructure and the Public Health Agency on Thursday, each of the proposed routes will receive £25,000 for the development of detailed designs.
Andrew Grieve, from the Department for Infrastructure, said: “This funding will help more councils to develop greenway projects that align with that plan and we look forward to seeing their proposals move towards fruition.”
Mary Black, from the Public Health Agency, added: “The greenways provide opportunities for children and adults to incorporate walking and cycling into their everyday lives, whether for active travel, recreation or health.
“As many adults and children are not taking the recommended amounts of physical activity, enhancing the infrastructure to help everyone get more active is a positive step.”