The Walks Scheme

Call for Expressions of Interest – National Walks Scheme

The National Walks Scheme facilitates the development and maintenance of many of Ireland’s walking trails.  The scheme, which is administered by the Department of Rural and Community Development, assists in the provision of high quality walking trails by private landholders, by contracting them, or their nominees, to undertake maintenance work on sections of National Waymarked Ways and other priority walks that traverse their lands.

The scheme currently covers 39 trails, with payments made to approximately 1,900 landholders to maintain those trails.

The Department of Rural and Community Development is now inviting expressions of interest from trail management committees, community groups and other similar entities for developed trails to be added to the Department’s Walks Scheme over the coming months.

Qualifying trails will:

  • Be available to the public,
  • Be of a suitable standard to be included in Sport Ireland’s trail register, and
  • Have all private landowners along the entire route willing to allow access to the public and to join scheme.

Applicant groups will also be required to outline a health & wellbeing, tourism or economic case for the inclusion of the trail under the scheme.

Trails that do not have all of the necessary elements in place at the time of application will not be considered.

Formal expressions of interest will only be accepted from Local Authorities and/or Local Development Companies. Interested groups should make contact with these bodies to commence the process.

Full details, including eligibly criteria and application forms, will be available on this website, from your Local Authority and/or Local Development Company in the coming days.

Information on the Walks Scheme

The Walks Scheme was launched on 4th March 2008 and has since been rolled out to cover 39 trails.  This is a national scheme involving all landholders on National Waymarked Ways, Looped Walking Routes and Heritage Routes, along with other trails that have been approved by the National Trails Office. The scheme will only operate where there is agreement on the entire walk and will not be available for part of a walk.

The scheme ensures that National Way Marked Ways and priority walks that traverse public and private lands are maintained and accessible. Participants in the Walks Scheme undertake to complete the enhancement and maintenance of the trails.

12 Rural Recreation Officers (RROs) are employed with Local Development Companies and have implemented the Walks Scheme which is administered by Local Development Companies on behalf of this Department.  The National Trails Office at the Irish Sports Council, Fáilte Ireland, Coillte, local walking management committees and Local Authorities, have also assisted the Department in the roll out of the scheme.

Please find Expression of Interest form, an example contract with a participating landholder and  example of landholder agreed workplan below:

Expression of Interest for Participation in The Walks Scheme
Example contract with a landholder participating in the Walks Scheme
Example participant landholder agreed workplan