Over the last ten years, Wicklow Uplands Council has initiated and participated in a number of projects to improve and manage the recreational use of the Wicklow countryside
Wicklow Outdoor Recreation Strategy 2009-2013
Following the publication of the National Countryside Recreation Strategy in Autumn 2006 by Comhairle na Tuaithe a consultation process began in Wicklow to produce a countywide recreation strategy for Wicklow. The Wicklow Countryside Recreation Strategy 2009-2013 was developed through a local partnership led by County Wicklow Partnership and including Coillte, Fáilte Ireland, Irish Sports Council, the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Wicklow County Council, Wicklow IFA and Wicklow Uplands Council. The project was co-ordinated by Helen Lawless, then Access Officer for Wicklow Uplands Council.
The strategy identifies how we can increase local economic benefit and enhance the health and well-being of our local population, while respecting the spectacular natural environment which is the source of these opportunities. The strategy identified an overall vision for outdoor recreation in Co. Wicklow that by the year 2020:
County Wicklow has a vibrant sustainable outdoor recreation culture based on partnership, trust and mutual respect
Wicklow Outdoor Recreation Committee
The Wicklow Outdoor Recreation Committee was established to oversee implementation of the strategy. Actions to achieve these objectives were agreed by the project partners and implementation of the strategy is ongoing. Wicklow Uplands Council participates on this committee representing the non-statutory interests in outdoor recreation.
Wicklow Countryside Access Service
The Countryside Access Service was a joint Wicklow Rural Partnership/Wicklow Uplands Council project which commenced in July 2005 with the aim of establishing a network of access routes, on private lands in the Wicklow uplands by means of voluntary agreements with landowners.The project successfully developed four access routes at Glenmalure, Lough Dan, Little Sugar Loaf and Pound Lane, Lacken. The Glenmalure access route was developed in partnership with Mountain Meitheal volunteers. The project supported and complemented the aims of the National Countryside Recreation Strategy and was supported financially by Comhairle na Tuaithe, Wicklow County Council, Wicklow Rural Partnership and Wicklow Uplands Council.
Wicklow Rural Recreation Officer
The Access Project was superseded nationally by the ‘Walks Scheme’ and the appointment of a Rural Recreation Officer for County Wicklow with the following remit:
- To implement the Walks Scheme in County Wicklow
- To coordinate and oversee the management and enhancement of trails in the county
- To assist local communities developing new routes
- To assist in the marketing and promotion of other trails in the region
This position is funded by the by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and Wicklow County Council.
This is a national scheme through which landowners are paid to maintain and upgrade nationally approved walks on private land. If you would like to develop a walk in your local area, contact Bryan Fennell, the Rural Recreation Officer for County Wicklow at County Wicklow Partnership. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 087 6080891
Wicklow Sustainable Trails Network
The Wicklow Sustainable Trails Network Project was established to co-ordinate management of the Wicklow Way, St Kevin’s Way and other trails in the Wicklow region. The project resulted in a marked improvement on the long distance walking routes in County Wicklow.
This partnership project involved key stakeholders and major landowners along the Wicklow Way and was managed by Wicklow Uplands Council. The project commenced in July, 2004 and was completed in February 2007. The total budget for the project was €235,000, 50% granted by Fáilte Ireland and 50% contributed by the project partners.
The project delivered a five year development, management and promotional plan for a new ‘Wicklow Trails Network’ with a focus on the Wicklow Way and St Kevin’s Way. It focused on developing sustainable rural tourism, encouraging a healthy local population in County Wicklow and managing visitor pressure from Dublin on the Wicklow countryside. A step-by-step guide to developing a new walking trail was produced as part of the project. It is a useful aid to community groups interested in trail development.