SLIGO IS MADE FOR WALKING!
TRACKS AND TRAILS ARE AMONG THE BEST IN WEST
IT’S official. Sligo has some of the best tracks and trails in the country according to those in the know.
Deirdre Kennedy who works with Sligo Leader has helped to develop the multitude of stunning walks across Yeats county. She says we are leading the way ‘in terms of rural recreation.’
Of course most of you already knew this too. Our popular walks have always been utilised by locals who avail of the natural beauty and breathtaking scenery on their doorstep. And within weeks of a new trail opening, people from all over the county have a well worn track beaten along its path.
But the development of the many beautiful walks in Sligo has taken years of planning, investment and labour, not to mention co-operation and goodwill involving local and national agencies, landowners and of course the walking communities themselves.
Sligo Leader has been instrumental in developing the walks and trails of Sligo.
In 2008 Sligo was one of 12 areas chosen to operate a scheme to develop Rural Rec- reation. A Rural Recreation Officer from Leader, Deirdre Kennedy was appointed to oversee the roll out of the Walks Scheme.
Deirdre has worked to support all stakeholders in the development, maintenance and promotion of trail based outdoor recreation across Sligo.
While at first the main focus was the development of walking trails, the brief then changed to place a greater emphasis on the development, co-ordination and promotion of the broader recreation product.
Deirdre works with Sligo County Council as part of the Sligo Walks team to support and assist communities to develop trails from short loop to long distance walks and to provide walking tourists with support and advice.
Deirdre also works with community groups and small business enterprises who want to access advice, support and funding for the development and improvement of recreational projects and activity tourism.
Another element of the role is to liaise with both landowners and maintenance teams on the upkeep of trails and to assist with negotiations to resolve access disputes.
Deirdre explains: “Without the goodwill of the landowners who through permissive access allow for the development of these walks and other recreational infrastructure this would not be possible. It is important that the concerns of landowners are addressed and that goodwill is maintained.”
She adds: “Considerable labour and expenditure has been invested in the development of new and existing walking trails in recent years in Sligo. However, as the popularity of walking continues to increase, so too does the ongoing maintenance along the various trails.
“The Rural Social Scheme operated by Sligo LEADER Partnership has been invaluable. It’s aimed at local income farmers and anglers and provides support to them.”
Rural Recreational Officer with Sligo Leader Deirdre Kennedy who oversees the roll out of the walks scheme across County Sligo.
Maintenance workers from the rural social scheme maintaining walkways in Sligo