Rural Recreation & Walks Scheme

West Cork Development Partnership employs two Rural Recreation Officers as part of the Rural Recreation Programme.

The responsibilities of the Rural Recreation Officers include the following:

  • Management of the Walks Scheme for the Sheep’s Head Way, the Beara Way in Cork, and the Slí Gaeltacht Mhúscraí.
  • Carrying out of the National Countryside Recreation strategy.
  • Overseeing work on the general upkeep, upgrade and rerouting of trails.
  • Assisting Fáilte Ireland in the development, marketing and promotion of trails and key walking destinations, including media and trade visits.
  • Working with local communities in developing trails and assisting in organising walking festivals.
  • Assisting with the implementation of the ‘Leave No Trace’ initiative.
  • Promoting and encouraging the development, delivery and improvement of recreational projects, infrastructure and activities including land, water and air based activities.
  • Development, improvement and promotion of other outdoor recreational activities, including mountain access.


The Walks Scheme

The Walks Scheme is administered by WCDP with the assistance of Sport Ireland Trails and Fáilte Ireland and in association with local walking management committees and Local Authorities on behalf of the Department Rural and Community Development.

It is a national scheme and open to all landholders on National Waymarked Ways, Looped Walking Routes and Heritage Routes along with other trails that have been approved by Sport Ireland Trails. The scheme will only operate where there is agreement on the entire walk and will not be available for part of a walk.

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 (5-year contracts).

The Sheep’s Head Way

The Sheep’s head way is a 175km (approximately) long distance walking route, made up of the Westerns 90km circular walking route around the Sheep’s Head Peninsula, and the Eastern section of the Sheep’s head from Bantry to Drimoleague and Kealkil, where the trail links to the Beara Way, the Sli Gaeltacht Mhuscrai and the Beara Breifne Way.

There are also over 28 individual loop walks along the route, providing easy 3km walks to over 20 km more difficult routes for the experienced walker.

More information:

The Beara Way

The Beara way is a 220 km long distance walking route around the highly spectacular Beara Peninsula. WCDP administer the Walks Scheme for the trail, and are working with Beara Tourism and the landowners on the maintenance and upgrading of this beautiful trail.

The Beara Way connects to the Sheep’s Head Way and the Sli Gaeltacht Mhuscrai at Kealkil – and is also part of the Beara-Breifne way – a long distance walking trail inspired by the legendary 17th century march of O’Sullivan Beare, last great chieftain of West Cork, the Beara-Breifne Way rambles 685 km north from Beara to Blacklion in Co. Cavan.

The Beara-Breifne Way Passport book can be purchased locally along this route – and walkers can have their passport book stamped at with 74 individually designed heritage stamps, each reflecting the heritage of the local area.

More information:

Slí Gaeltacht Mhúscraí

The Slí Gaeltacht Mhuscraí is a section of the Beara-Breifne Way, linking Kealkill and Millstreet in County Cork. At approximately 72 kilometres in length, the trail offers some stunning views on a variety of terrain, from forest track and boreen to open mountain and bogland and there are many sites of interest and beauty.

Trail Development Projects

West Cork Development Partnership’s Rural Recreation Officers have been working with Local Communities in the development, maintenance and promotion of trails and walking routes as both local amenities and as a support to local tourism.

Fastnet Trails
Baltimore Trails
Kilbrittain Trails
Union Hall Walks
Beara Breifne Way
The Seven Heads Walk

Contact Details

Projects need to have full support of the Community to ensure success. The Rural Recreation Officers would be delighted to hear from Community Groups, businesses and individuals in relation to projects in their area. If you have an idea or plans to develop a recreation project, please feel free to contact Joe Cronin or Michael O’Brien for advice and information.

Contact: Joe Cronin (The Beara Way), Rural Recreation Officer, West Cork Development Partnership, the Warner Centre, Barrack St., Bantry, Co. Cork. P75W624
Tel: 086 1717592


Michael O Brien (The Sheeps Head Way) Rural Recreation Officer, West Cork Development Partnership, the Warner Centre, Barrack St., Bantry, Co. Cork. P75W624

Tel: 087 3413590

Other Useful Information