Mr Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, announced on Wednesday, 4 December 2019, the addition of 10 new trails to the Walks Scheme operated by his Department. These are the first trails to be added as part of a phased expansion that will see the Walks Scheme doubling in size to 80 trails when all phases of the expansion are complete.
There are currently 39 trails covered by the Walks Scheme, involving 1,962 participant landowners and farmers. The Scheme contracts them, or their nominees, to undertake maintenance work on sections of National Waymarked Ways and other priority walks that traverse their lands. The Scheme is administered at a local level by Local Development Companies.
In announcing the expansion of the scheme, Minister Ring said:
Minister Ring continued:
Minister Ring concluded:
Last year alone, almost 2.7 million overseas visitors engaged in some form of cross country walking or hiking. In addition, one in four of us included walking or hiking as part of our domestic holidays last year.
The 10 new trails included in the first phase of the expanded Walks Scheme are:
|County||Name of Trail||No of Landowners(approx.)||Length of Private Land (approx.)|
|Clare||East Clare Way||33||36.5 km|
|Galway||Hymany Way||40||60 km|
|Kilkenny||Gathabawn Loop Walk||4||2 km|
|Kilkenny||Kilmacoliver Loop Walk||3||3km|
|Laois||Binninea Walk Cullahill||10||4 km|
|Leitrim||Leitrim Way||120||24 km|
|Sligo||Keash Hill Trail||3||1.8 km|
|Tipperary||Ormond Way||49||31 km|
|Tipperary||Multeen Way||16||9.4 km|
|Wicklow||St Kevin's Way||5||2.5 km|
The first phase of the expansion will also include the appointment of an additional Rural Recreation Officer in County Leitrim to assist in delivering the Scheme.