One of the most famous walks in the country has been closed to the public following an assault on land owner Pat Dunne over the weekend.
A statement issued this evening read as follows:
The well-known Zig-Zags walking track in Glenmalure has been closed to the public following an assault carried out on the landowner. The popular route, which is located entirely on private lands, provided access from the base of Carrawaystick Waterfall towards Lugnaquilla.
The Zig-Zags was an ‘Agreed Access Route’, facilitated through a formal Permissive Access Agreement between the landowner, Pat Dunne and County Wicklow Partnership. First developed in 2007, Pat was one of the first landowners in the country to permit an agreed access route across his lands and is widely respected among the recreational community for his efforts.
However, following a physical incident with a hiker on the 19th March, Pat and the Dunne family have taken the difficult decision to close public access with immediate effect.
Speaking about the closure Pat Dunne said ‘I want it known that for the last 16 years we have permitted open access to Lugnaquilla via the Zig Zags. The track and open mountain lands immediately above are private property. The only request in return for open access to our land was that NO DOGS were brought onto the mountain due to the disturbance they can cause to livestock. It is not an unreasonable request as we have had many instances of sheep being mauled by dogs on the mountain’.
He continued ‘However, over the years we have had many instances of verbal abuse with people as they ignored signage asking that dogs were not brought onto our lands. In one case this even resulted in a threat that our house “would be burnt down”’.
Pat said ‘The final straw came on Sunday 19th March at 11.10am when after repeatedly asking a man and a youth accompanying him to not bring their three dogs onto the track, he physically assaulted me, knocking me to the ground, before continuing up the mountain with the dogs’.
‘It is because of this that we have decided to revoke the permissive access agreement and close the trail to the public with immediate effect’.
Commenting on the closure Aaron Byrne, Rural Recreation Officer with County Wicklow Partnership added ‘County Wicklow Partnership completely support the Dunne family in their decision. The success of The Walks Scheme and access routes are evident all over the country and that’s based on cooperation between landowners and recreational users. The actions of this particular individual are completely unacceptable. The closure of the trail will come as a huge blow to all the recreational users who benefitted from the goodwill of the Dunne family and enjoyed access to the mountains through their lands.’