The Department of Rural and Community Development has recently announced the re-opening of the National Walks Scheme for new participants to join the scheme.
The National Walks Scheme facilitates the development and maintenance of many of Ireland’s walking trails. The scheme assists in the provision of high quality walking trails by private landholders by contracting them, or their nominees, to undertake maintenance work on sections of National Waymarked Ways and other priority walks that traverse their lands.
The scheme currently covers 39 trails nationwide, with payments made to approximately 1,900 landholders to maintain those trails. In Wicklow there are over 60 landowners currently on the scheme, primarily consisting of landowners on long distance trails, such as the Wicklow Way.
The Department of Rural and Community Development is now inviting expressions of interest from trail management committees, community groups and other similar entities for developed trails to be added to the Department’s Walks Scheme over the coming months.
Qualifying trails will need to meet the following criteria:
- Be available to the public,
- Be of a suitable standard to be included in Sport Ireland’s trail register, and
- Have all private landowners along the entire route willing to allow access to the public and to join scheme.
Applicant groups will also be required to outline a health & wellbeing, tourism or economic case for the inclusion of the trail under the scheme.
Trails that do not have all of the necessary elements in place at the time of application will not be considered.
Interested groups should make contact with County Wicklow Partnership’s Rural Recreation Officer for further details, contact details below;
Rural Recreation Officer
Information on the Walks Scheme
The Walks Scheme was launched on 4th March 2008 and has since been rolled out to cover 39 trails. This is a national scheme involving all landholders on National Waymarked Ways, Looped Walking Routes and Heritage Routes, along with other trails that have been approved by the National Trails Office. The scheme will only operate where there is agreement on the entire walk and will not be available for part of a walk.
The scheme ensures that National Way Marked Ways and priority walks that traverse public and private lands are maintained and accessible. Participants in the Walks Scheme undertake to complete the enhancement and maintenance of the trails.