Long Distance Uplands Trail Takes One Step Closer With The Announcement of €392,000 In Funding For The Avonmore way link bridge

Wicklow Uplands Council warmly welcome this week’s announcement that the Avonmore Way Link Bridge has received a funding allocation of €392,000 under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

The Roundwood based organisation offered congratulations to Wicklow County Council and to County Wicklow Partnership’s Rural Recreation Officer, Bryan Fennell, who worked closely with all stakeholders to develop the successful application for the construction of the pedestrian bridge.

Once completed, the bridge will link The Avonmore Way to the Jubilee Loop trail on lands which are owned by project partners, The National Parks & Wildlife Service and Coillte.

The 12km long Avonmore Way, which was established by Wicklow Uplands Council in 2016, was developed strategically to connect public transport services of the national train and bus network that serve Rathdrum, to link directly to Glendalough and the upland trail network.

The aim was to promote greater independent access to the area and provide a boost to the local economy by creating additional attractions leading to longer visitor stays . The Avonmore Way also gives recreational users the potential to link in the Wicklow Way or St Kevin’s Way via Laragh and Glendalough.

The concept for a bridge over the Avonmore has long been investigated by the Uplands Council, NPWS and Coillte as it is recognised as a critical part of trail and tourism infrastructure in the county. It will not only see the completion of a safe pedestrian route from Avondale House and Rathdrum to Laragh and Glendalough but it will be a very important piece in a much larger vision that would see a long distance trail from Bray Train Station to the Woodenbridge, linking the villages of Kilmacanogue, Roundwood, Annamoe, Laragh, Rathdrum and Avoca inbetween.

Following the announcement, Brian Dunne, coordinator of Wicklow Uplands Council shared:

“The council’s overall vision of creating a new long distance upland trail from Bray to Woodenbridge, is now one step closer to becoming a reality with the announcement that funding for this essential piece of infrastructure is secured.”

Recent and ongoing trail developments in the county have seen new routes at Bray Head, the Sugar Loaf and the Vartry Reservoirs. Wicklow Uplands Council are seeking opportunities to develop links between the various trails, with the overall vision of creating one 60km long distance route that connects the towns and villages along the way.

This concept aligns closely with the recently launched Tourism Strategy and Marketing Plan for County Wicklow and the unveiling of the ‘Wicklow Outdoors’ brand. The marketing initiative aims to establish county Wicklow as the premier outdoor destination and the number one choice for visitors seeking an idyllic escape.

This project forms a key part of a strategic planning for the county’s recreational infrastructure, led by the Wicklow Outdoor Recreation Committee. The group, comprised of key stakeholders interested in the provision of recreational amenities in Wicklow, work together to ensure that Wicklow continues to excel in its position as the leading location for outdoor recreation in Ireland.

Bryan Fennell, The Rural Recreational Officer for County Wicklow shared:

“Projects like this can only be achieved through close cooperation with all stakeholders and we have seen all parties come together to reach this milestone”

“Recreational Trails provide users with the opportunity to travel through unique environments while providing a health benefit to the individual.  Wicklow has over 500km of Waymarked trails currently, consisting of a variety of grades to suit any user.”

The allocation of €392,000 for the Avonmore Way Link Bridge forms part of the €8 million in funding for 18 strategic projects nationally announced this week by The Department of Rural and Community Development.

The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme forms part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and provides funding for the development and maintenance of outdoor amenities such as greenways, walking trails and other recreation projects.

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