The many beauty spots, heritage sites, walking trails and open spaces found in the Wicklow and Dublin Uplands has seen an unprecedented number of visitors over the last few days. As the current public health crisis continues, the region is likely to welcome many more daily visitors keen to enjoy the outdoors and experience some of Ireland’s most stunning landscapes.
In response, Wicklow Uplands Council which actively promotes the sustainable use of the uplands, has issued a number of guidelines to enable visitors and locals to enjoy and experience the Uplands safely and with consideration to others.
Even when outdoors, social distancing is paramount, which means individuals should avoid congregating in groups and in keeping with HSE recommendations, a gap of two metres should be maintained between each person.
Inconsiderate parking creates a number of challenges with vehicles often parked blocking private entrances, farmyards and working farm gates. Parking along narrow roadways may cause obstruction and prevent access to emergency services. Please consider public transport and park only where it’s appropriate to do so and will not cause challenges for other road users.
Unfortunately parked vehicles in remote areas and popular tourist sites are occasionally targeted by criminals so please leave valuables at home or hidden out of sight.
Please practice Responsible Dog Control. Dogs remain a key challenge for not only farmers and landowners, but also for other visitors too. By law, dogs must always be under effective control and this includes the use of leads when appropriate. Follow local signage and remember that the presence of dogs can startle sheep, wildlife and ground-nesting birds.
Please dispose of all litter properly in line with the Leave No Trace Principles. This is especially true with many visitors likely to bring packed food and drinks.
Many of the food businesses and hospitality options that ordinarily would support visitors to the uplands, are now closed, so we would advise that food and drinks be brought by visitors and any waste be disposed of correctly afterwards.
Plan your walking activities by checking weather forecasts, wearing appropriate clothing and footwear and having adequate hydration and food snacks. Be safe, know your skill level and respect the land owner’s wishes by closing gates and not damaging fences or private property.
According to Brian Dunne, Coordinator of Wicklow Uplands Council,
“The uplands are open and provide a huge number of choices for you and your loved ones to experience the outdoors during these challenging times. Our open spaces are more important than ever and we should all enjoy them responsibly and with respect for others in mind, that includes observing the guidelines on social distancing”
Offering advice to both locals and visitors, Mr. Dunne added,
“There are a wealth of trails and walks to choose from across the uplands. Whereas some are popular and well-known, many hidden gems are waiting to be explored”.