Blueprint for the county walk routes
Billy Timmins has asked Wicklow County Council to take the lead in developing a walking route blueprint for the county.
The former TD wants an expert group, assisted by administrative support, to examine how existing and proposed routes could be linked. In correspondence with the chairman of Wicklow County Council, he pointed out that there is massive potential in such a project and that the benefits are 'endless'.
Following the success of the Waterford Greenway and the Wild Atlantic Way, Mr Timmins believes the Garden County has the potential to create something just as exciting.
'The raw material is there and much of the groundwork has been done. An overall coordinated plan to link and enhance what is already there would work wonders,' said Mr Timmins.
Wicklow already has a number of public walkways in place, including The Wicklow Way, the Bray to Greystones coastal walk and the loops around Tinahely.
There are also plans for the Blessington Greenway and the Shillelagh, Aughrim and Woodenbridge railway walk, as well as proposals for an east coast greenway connecting Wicklow town, Kilcoole, Newcastle and Greystones.
Mr Timmins feels that Wicklow is in an ideal position to liaise with other local authorities to examine the 'St James' route concept which has made the Camino de Santiago such a popular destination.
'Here in Wicklow we have defined treks and there are also several historical routes in the county which have been used for generations. The Glen Of Imaal to Glenmalure, the Murrough in Wicklow town, Glendalough and Lugnaquilla are familiar to all. A weekend drive around the county will demonstrate how many different walks there are as numerous parked cars are seen at various locations,' he said.
'Despite all this activity, I believe there is far greater potential for development in this area. Some of the routes need infrastructural and marketing investment. However, more importantly there is a requirement to link these walks where possible. It is my strong view that Wicklow County Council should establish a working group to produce a "Walking Routes Blueprint" for the county. This would consist of expert volunteers with administrative support'.