Southern Star Ltd. logo
Great Outdoors

Walking trail could link Skibbereen with Mizen Head

March 15th, 2024 2:00 PM

By Emma Connolly

Walking trail could link Skibbereen with Mizen Head Image

Share this article

THE committee behind the successful Fastnet Trails hope that in the future it will be possible to walk from Skibbereen all the way to the end of the Mizen peninsula.

And just-announced government funding is a further endorsement of their project and motivation to continue the good work.

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys last week announced the largest ever expansion of Ireland’s National Walks Scheme.

Among those qualifying for the latest scheme is the Fastnet Trails. Set up in 2015, it’s a system of long and short nature walks on the Mizen peninsula. Chair Christie Sanders said the funding was a great basis on which to build.

‘In the future our ambition would be for someone to be able to check into accommodation in Skibbereen and walk all the way to the Mizen Head,’ he said, pointing out the benefits for the local economy.

Currently the Fastnet Trails end at Goleen, but the group is in the process of developing a trail from Mount Corrin to Ballydehob.

Christie praised land owners for getting on board. ‘Many of the routes need maintenance several times a year, and that’s a big ask of people, who are already very busy, so to be able to pay them for their efforts is only fair,’ he said.

Cape Clear has also qualified under the scheme which has been welcomed by walks co-ordinator Seamus Ó Drisceoil. Locals established trails on the island 15 years ago, despite missing out on the scheme at the time, and he said this was a perfect time to give credit to landowners who got involved without any financial support.

‘Their contribution was tremendous and they deserve great credit,’ he said.

There are four walks on the island: Glen walk and the Cnoicín walk which, he said, are ideal bird watching spots – an activity for which the island is renowned.

Two more were added last year: Crows Loop, and Loop an Gorta which are on either side of the North Harbour and which are short, accessible walks with stunning views.

All four are huge draws to the island, Seamus said, and qualifying for funding under the scheme will allow for their ongoing maintenance and development.

Arron O’Driscoll, head of West Cork Development Partnership (WCDP), which is responsible for the walks, said she was delighted with the expansion of the scheme.

‘We have excellent experience in this area, working with the Sheep’s Head and the Beara Way since 2009, so this is now very good news for the Mizen peninsula and all of West Cork,’ she said.

She also praised the work done by volunteer committees and in particular Jennifer Davidson, the rural recreational officer and the role of the landowners and farmers.

The Department is now inviting expressions of interest for new trails and substantial extensions to existing trails. The closing date for applications is October 11th.

Share this article