EXPLORE WATERFORD’S WONDERFUL HERITAGE ON FOOTWalking Waterford’s trails is a great way to explore local heritage from ancient ruins to iconic buildings and wildlife. Sites such as St. Declan’s Well, Round Tower and Medieval Church along the Ardmore Coastal Trail and Dunmore East with its elegant lighthouse and attractive thatched houses add to the interest of getting outdoors. Lismore Castle and Ballysaggart Towers are particularly impressive and enchanting. The Comeragh Mountains provide the best example of a corrie landscape in Ireland. Formed during the Ice Age corries are deep wide hollows many with lakes and vertical back walls e.g. Sgilloge Lakes. Coum Mahon holds one of Ireland’s finest waterfalls at Mahon Falls. Keep an eye out for wildlife on your walk - Choughs with their distinctive red legs can be spotted flying over coastal grasslands and you may be lucky enough to spot whales and dolphins in Waterford Estuary or from Ram Head. Wintering birdlife such as Brent Geese can be spotted from trails in Tramore where you can also enjoy panoramic views of Tramore Bay, Brownstown Head and the Metal Man. Get walking and exploring!
HAPPY AND SAFE WALKING:Walking in nature is without doubt one of life’s most enjoyable experiences and best of all...it’s free! To further enhance your enjoyment here are a few tips worth remembering when you venture into the great outdoors:
- Some of the walks promoted in this booklet are located in upland areas, along exposed coastline, in woodland or along river banks. Be prepared for your walk by knowing your route, the weather forecast, have the required skills and be properly equipped (see grading of trails p48).
- Consider the lack of usual facilities such as toilets, shops, cafés and restaurants.
- Practice the principles of Leave no Trace at all times. Dispose of waste properly: If you bring it in, take it out.
- Park responsibly and legally.
- Respect private property.
- If taking a dog with you choose a location where dogs are permitted. Please keep your dog on a lead out of respect for landowners and other trail users and to protect wildlife and farm animals. Always carry waste bags with you when walking your dog, pick up after it, and bring the bag home.
WALKING SAFELY IN UPLAND AND MOUNTAIN AREAS:Here is a message from our friends and volunteers from South East Mountain Rescue Association who carry out invaluable work in helping keep walkers safe in the mountain ranges in this region: ‘Anyone, no matter how experienced, can have a slip or fall on the hills or get disorientated in changing weather. If you need to call for help at any time, dial 999 or 112 and ask for Mountain Rescue. It is important to be able to keep warm and dry until help gets to you. Here are some things you should always have with you, extra layers, (hat, gloves, top etc) a warm drink, some food, a back-up charger for your phone, a map & compass, a bivvy bag or storm shelter. Wear hiking boots for better grip and protection for your ankles. Plan your route in advance, give yourself plenty of time and check the weather forecast for the area. Park sensibly; make sure to leave access for landowners and emergency services. If you hike on a regular basis, why not do a Mountain Skills course and learn more about navigation and looking after yourself in a mountain environment’.
GRADING OF TRAILS:Multi-access: Flat smooth trails, suitable for all users including people with reduced mobility, wheelchair users, people with vision impairment, using crutches, with a buggy, with small children, older people and so on. Normal outdoor footwear can be worn. Easy: Generally flat trails with a smooth surface and some gentle slopes or shallow steps. These trails are generally suitable for family groups including children and older people. Normal outdoor footwear can be worn. Moderate: These trails may have some climbs and may have an uneven surface where the going is rough underfoot with some obstacles such as protruding roots, rocks, etc. The routes are appropriate for people with a moderate level of fitness and some walking experience. Specific outdoor walking footwear and clothing is recommended. Strenuous: These are physically demanding trails, which will typically have some sections with steep climbs for long periods and the going underfoot can be extremely rough including many obstacles. Suitable for users accustomed to walking on rough ground and with a high level of fitness. Specific outdoor walking footwear and clothing required. Very Difficult: These routes are predominantly in remote upland areas. They will typically include steep slopes and very variable and rough underfoot conditions on sometimes indistinct trails. They may be unmarked so the use of a map and navigational skills will be required. Suitable only for the very fit and competent mountain walkers with a high level of experience. Specific outdoor walking footwear and clothing required.
LOCAL WALKING GUIDESIf you are not familiar with the area or the specific trail why not go with a local walking group or an experienced walking guide. There are a number of walking guides in Waterford who have a fantastic knowledge of our walks and local history, heritage, flora and fauna. A walk with an experienced guide can really add value to your walk and is very enjoyable. For more information on local guides log onto www.visitwaterford.com.
In case of emergency always carry a phone and dial 999 or 112