Upland Path Condition Survey

With recreational footfall across the Wicklow and Dublin Uplands continuing to grow, the impact to the area’s network of upland paths has been professionally surveyed to inform future decisions on sustainable recreational use.

Aside from managed trails such as the Wicklow Way, there is an extensive network of informal paths that criss-cross the Wicklow and Dublin Uplands, connecting routes, peaks and popular points of interest for hikers and walkers. Evolved through common usage over the decades, the impact of the ever-increasing footfall on these paths contribute to soil erosion and the loss of vegetation and sensitive habitats. Often scarring the landscape, the paths frequently cross fragile peat soil, leading to a loss of carbon and water runoff that affects the water quality of upland streams. 

To establish an accurate understanding of the current path conditions, Wicklow Uplands Council, Wicklow Mountains National Park (NPWS) and a host of project partners that includes Coillte, County Wicklow Partnership/Rural Recreation Officer, Dublin Mountains Partnership, Mountaineering Ireland, Mountain Meitheal and Wicklow County Council, commissioned a specialist survey to investigate further and to explore possible solutions to ensure that these areas are sustainably managed for future generations.

 With funding received through the LEADER Programme, an extensive survey of 167km of many of the popular upland paths located throughout the region, was recently completed by expert path surveyor, Chris York from ‘Walking the Talk’ .

Final Report

A Final Report providing an overview of the survey and it’s recommendations is now available for viewing.

Below, please also find individual reports on each of the 50 routes that featured in the survey.

Map Of The Surveyed Paths

Illustrated in the map featured below, are the 50 paths surveyed. Each path is broken down into sections resulting in a total of 350 sections with an overall linear distance of 167km.

‘Path Condition Survey Of Upland Paths In The Wicklow Mountains’ – Online Presentation 

As part of the public engagement commitment to share and discuss the findings and recommendations before the publication of the Final Report, a special online event was held in September 2022.

Led by Chris York of Walking the Talk’, the event provided some great insight into how to potentially address the damaged areas, minimize future erosion and sustainably manage recreational usage into the future. Attracting a considerable audience from across a number of sectors, the event also featured some great discussion points in the Q & A session following the presentation. 

Published Reports On Each Of The 50 Routes

The Upland Path Condition Survey Project has been part funded by the EU through the LEADER/Rural Development Programme – (RDP) 2014-2020