Walk to Wicklow Head blocked

 
Wicklow Head Lighthouse

 For many generations of Wicklow people, the coastal walk out to Wicklow Head Lighthouse has been a source of exercise, pleasure and previously, for the light keepers, their pathway to work. The path skirts Wicklow Golf Club and the latter part, farmland. It is beautiful and has many features to attract sightseers, nature lovers, walkers and romantics of all ages. However, in the recent past this path has been blocked, which has created problems for people searching the coast for a probable drowned loved one.

There is a long established right of way along the path, which has been used on a daily basis, weather permitting. A number of years ago, the local council erected signs and a barrier at the Glen Turn (about half way along the path) to warn walkers that the cliff was dangerous and prevent access. This was soon dismantled by locals who were very upset at the intervention of their councillors in restricting acess to their cherished walkway. It has remained down ever since.
 
In the last few months, another barrier suddenly appeared out near the end of the walk, where it joins the Lighthouse access road. A crude barbed wire fence was erected on an old stone wall where walkers exited the coastal path. In addition to the wire, a dense mix of oils and animal fats was applied to the posts to upset unwary walkers who might touch same. This was again dismantled and access re-established.
 

Barbed wire barrier on stone wall

More recently, as in the last week or so, a more comprehensive set of barriers has been erected at the same exit area, which all but makes it impossible for walkers to get through. The farmer in question is also apparently taking photographs of “trespassers” and notifying the Gardai. With a long established right of way, he surely cannot have any legal right to deny any walkers access to this area.
 
As a compromise, surely it would be feasible for him to consider erecting a suitable stile at the wall, to allow access to all who wish to enjoy the area. It might even be possible to get a group of those who are regular users to build one, at no cost to the farmer in question.
 
This matter has taken a serious turn this week. An unfortunate incident involving a missing person, believed drowned in Wicklow Harbour, has necessitated a lot of search activity along the local coastline. This barrier has proved to be a major impediment to allowing concerned searchers follow the coast out as far as Wicklow Head. Those concerned are very upset at this obstruction to their efforts, necessitating a long detour to complete their regular sweeps as they keep a vigilant lookout.
 

New pathway opened by Wicklow Co. Co. 22.02.2012

The County Council have today by-passed this barrier by creating a new opening a short distance from the offending structure. The question now is – will it be allowed to remain in place without interference from the landowner? Fingers crossed, our pathway will remain open for all concerned and allow the joy of the Wicklow Head coastal walk to be available to locals and tourists alike.
 
Our beautiful coastline should be available to all to enjoy. Farmers and landowners are entitled to respect for their property and livestock but should also have consideration for the rights of others. Live and let live.
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6 thoughts on “Walk to Wicklow Head blocked

  1. Charlie, This was a very interesting read and it saddens me to think that family members looking for a lost one at sea were turned back whilst searching the coastline. I was out walking on Thursday morning and was prevented from walking up and around the lighthouse due to the road being blocked. I would very much like to let this famer know exactly how i feel about him blocking access. Not being a native of this area does the land belong to the farmer who lives on the lighthouse road as i would personally like to send him a letter to express my concerns on this matter.

    Kindest Regards

    Sean.

  2. I run along this coastal trail several times a week and have done so for 11 years or so.I exit at the point where the barbed wire was erected.Last August as i came to the stone wall i saw a young man, who i believe to be the farmers son, intimidating a woman and her young son by taking photographs as they crossed this newly erected barbed wire.I crossed the barrier myself and he took photographs as i did so-the following day as i came to the same spot he had a private security person take photographs-
    I still run the route and i’m delighted to see the new access point established by WCC-
    Lets hope the farmer respects an established public right of way.
    Ray

    • Yes, all is well thanks to the timely intervention of Wicklow County Council. With the weather improving, its well worth while to don your boots and enjoy the walk.

  3. I tried to access this walk yesterday (7th September 2014) from the public car park near the golf course and the county council have erected a strong barrier at the shingle beach preventing access to the cliff walk saying it is closed due to coastal erosion. There is a similar sign at the lighthouse road end – but the path is accessible here. The path down to limekiln bay from that point is fine (although getting overgrown with gorse and ferns).

    • Hi Stephen, I put up a new blog about 2 weeks ago specifically about the recent blockage. With the signs up at both ends, casual walkers will not venture along the walk and that overgrowth will take over, effectively making the walk impassable unless with a machete or similar implement. Charlie

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