Supporting Rural Development in
Waterford County

Rural Recreation & The Walks Scheme

The Department of Rural and Community Development Walks Scheme works with landowners to encourage the development, enhancement and maintenance of trails approved by Sport Ireland Outdoors and listed on the National Trails Register.

The Walks Scheme contracts the landholders, or their nominees, to undertake maintenance work on sections of priority walks that cross their lands.  The scheme has resulted in the development and enhancement of 140 trails, and the negotiation of maintenace contracts with over 2,000 landowners.

The Walks Scheme in Co Waterford is administered by Waterford LEADER Partnership CLG on behalf of the Department of Community Development, and with assistance from Sport Ireland Outdoors and Fáilte Ireland.

There are now 14 trails on the Walks Scheme in Co. Waterford.

The scheme aims to enhance and maintain key walking trails including National Waymarked Ways, Looped Walking Routes and Heritage Routes by providing support to landholders whose land they traverse. The Walks Scheme is aimed at private landowners who will be paid to carry out a specified and agreed maintenance plan for approved walking routes through their lands.  The scheme will be administered in accordance with the Operating Guidelines of the Walks Scheme as determined by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Impact of the Walks Scheme

  • additional jobs in hospitality and outdoor recreation
  • new business ventures such as bike hire and coffee shops
  • social events like walking clubs and walking festivals
  • maintenance payments to landholders, generating an income stream for rural commuities of €7.6 million over a 4-year period
  • an injection of €600,000 into the local economy, over a 4-year period, form purchase of trail maintenance materials.

Examples of some of the walks in County Waterford are:-

Anne Valley Walk

The Anne Valley Walk is an amenity developed by local landowners and the community. The 5km walk is fully accessible to those with reduced mobility including buggies, wheelchairs, etc. The route winds its way through the scenic Anne Valley wetland and woodland area, connecting Dunhill with the seaside village of Annestown. The route has information on the flora and fauna, as well as picnic and seating areas to rest and enjoy your surroundings. Dunhill Castle overlooks the trail about half way between Dunhill and Annestown. Annestown beach on the Copper Coast is an attractive bathing place, popular with surfers and swimmers alike.

Anne Valley Walk Map (anne-valley-walk-map_0.pdf (

St Delcan’s Way 

St Declan’s Way is a modern walking route linking the ancient ecclesiastical centres of Ardmore in County Waterford and Cashel in County Tipperary. The route associated with St. Declan’s Way is 56 miles (96 kilometres) long and crosses the Knockmealdown Mountains at Bearna Cloch an Buideal (Bottleneck Pass), an elevation of 537m.

The waymarked route, because of height restrictions on National Walking Trails, does not cross the pass, and is longer at 115km. Apart from this mountainous stretch, the route passes mainly through the undulating farmland of south Tipperary and west Waterford.

St Declan’s Way Walk utilises the route of several ancient and medieval pilgrimage and trading routes such as the Rian Bo Phadraig (Track of St. Patrick’s Cow), Bothar na Naomh (Road of the Saints), Casan na Naomh (Path of the Saints) and St. Declan’s Road. The current route is based on a route mapped out and developed by Ardmore Enterprise Cooperative in the mid-1990s and tries to remain faithful to the ancient highways where possible.

St Declan’s Way Map ( Maps – St. Declan’s Way (

Photos courtesy of the Munster Vales 

Contact Details:-

The walks scheme is administered by Ms Niamh McGuinness, Rural Recreation Officer for Waterford Leader Partnership CLG. Niamh can be contacted as follows:-

Waterford Leader Partnership CLG, Lismore Business Park, Lismore, Co Waterford

M: 086 1990221



Further details on the programme can be found here 

The Walks Scheme and Rural Recreation Officers
Leave No Trace
Livestock advice for trail users pdf 660 KB 222

Corporate Governance

"We confirm that Waterford Leader Partnership CLG complies with the Governance Code for the Community, Voluntary & Charitable Sector in Ireland"