It has been announced that St. Kevin’s Way is one of the 10 new trails to be included in the first phase of the expansion of the Walks Scheme.
This very welcome news follows the announcement earlier this year, that the nationwide scheme would be receiving an increased funding allocation to enable its expansion to 80 trails across the country.
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 trails that traverse their lands. These include National Waymarked Ways, Looped Walking Routes, Heritage Routes, and other trails approved by the National Trails Office.
The phased expansion of the scheme follows a call for Expressions of Interest earlier this year which saw more than 50 applications being received from across the country. It is expected that announcements on a further 30 new trails will be made in the coming months.
The Scheme is administered at a local level by local development companies, with County Wicklow Partnership and its Rural Recreation Officer overseeing its implementation in Wicklow
Funding for the Walks Scheme is allocated by the Department of Rural and Community Development, who also fund the role of Rural Recreation Officers and the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme which are both integral to developing and maintaining Wicklow’s growing number of trails.
St Kevin’s Way is a 30km trail which follows in the footsteps of St Kevin through the hills of Wicklow to the 6th monastic site in the valley of Glendalough where he spent the rest of his life in solitary prayer and contemplation.
The route begins in Hollywood or from the alternative route in Valleymount, before the paths converge at Ballinagee Bridge. Taking in the stunning vista of the uplands across the Wicklow Gap, old flagstones can be found along some sections which are remnants of the original pilgrim path before descending into the Glendalough Valley and finishing at the monastic site.
A Pilgrim Passport is now available which can be stamped upon completion of the route.
More information on the route can be found by visiting our trails section: www.wicklowuplands.ie/the-st-kevins-way