Having seen a Facebook post by Cllr Pat Kavanagh regarding the closure of the Cliff Walk from the Glen Turn entrance, I went down to investigate the situation myself this evening. As a regular user of this beautiful walk for the last 25 years, I was very upset to hear it had been blocked yet again.
For most of this year, there has been a potentially serious problem of erosion at a point c.100m from the beach entrance. The path at this point is just about to collapse into the sea and is a serious threat to walkers (see centre right of photo below). This definitely needs to be shut off and walkers protected in case it would collapse as someone walks across it. There is a sheer drop of c.20m below it.
However, immediately above this dangerous section is an alternative route on a rough rocky section that would be perfectly safe for walkers to use. A new path has already been beaten down into the dense fern growth beyond it, so there should be no need to deprive tourists and townspeople alike of the wonderful pleasure of the Brides Head/Wicklow Head cliff walk. Instead of the fence blocking access to the beautiful walk, it should be realigned to protect the dangerous section from walkers and allow safe passage above it – i.e. run it parallel to the walk.
This path has been subject to erosion for centuries and people have adjusted to the problem by making new walkways to continue using it. It is important that Wicklow County Council acts to keep walkers safe, but blocking access with ugly barriers when alternative options exist is most unhelpful.
The start of this section overlooks the Glen Turn beach and it is also subject to erosion. The next big easterly storm is likely to take away a substantial part of the pathway here, but at present this section is safe to traverse. There is no good reason at time of writing for this section to be blocked off. If they are so worried, a small diverting fence could be erected to make walkers move a little closer to the Golf Club fence as they pass through.
Health and Safety is a concept we all agree is important for the protection of the general public but this unnecessary belt and braces blockage on a coarse walking route when a perfectly feasible solution exists, is nonsense. Somebody in Wicklow County Council needs to get a grip and see the damage they are really doing to our “wild” heritage, one of Wicklows’ jewels. Depriving Wicklow residents and our visitors of a fantastic experience is not in anyones interest and our Local Authority, of all agencies, should be doing all in their power to allow access to such amenities.