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This week the Wicklow Walkers decided to explore a newly developed Greenway which runs from the Avon Ri Lakeshore Resort to Russborough House just outside Blessington. This route was officially opened in February 2014.

Difficulty: 2/5. A lovely flat walk, there are no hills to contend with! The path is a mix of forest trail, man-made paths and wooden walkways. The length can be adapted to suit your ability.

Suitability: This trail is also open to cyclists which means that there is no steps making it a very suitable walk for pushchairs. Also great for Children who want to bring bikes or scooters. The walk does cross two roads, which can be busy so it is important to keep this in mind when walking with children. Your dog will also love this walk! You will meet many dog owners on the trail. If you do want to bring your dog, ensure that you keep them on their lead as other walkers may not love your dog as much as you do! The day we went, we traveled with both Children (aged between 5 and 10) and our dogs.

A lovely clear morning around the Blessington Lakes as the fog cleared

A lovely clear morning around the Blessington Lakes as the fog cleared

Distance: 6.5km aprx one way or 13km aprx return journey.

Time: Walking at a steady pace, we completed the walk from Russborough House to Avon Ri in 1 ½  hours. Walking back from Avon Ri to Russborough house at a brisker pace took an hour and 15 mins.

Information on Walk: There is more information about the walk available from the following websites:

http://visitwicklow.ie/activities/blessington-greenway-walk/ http://www.avonri.com/cmsFiles/blessington_greenway_map.pdf http://mountainviews.ie/walk/141/

Our Walk:

We began our walk at the Russelltown Bay Car Park, which is situated across from the road to Russborough House. The entrance to the carpark is just before the Dublin Bus Stop on the right hand side. The carpark opens at 9am on a Sunday morning, if you do arrive before this time the gates will be locked, but you can park around the gates and walk to the path. There are a few options for this walk, you can walk from the carpark to Avon Ri and back which is about 13km. Alternatively, if you have two cars you can leave one at Avon Ri and the other at Russelltown Bay and walk from one end of the trail to the other.
Another way you can walk it, which I find useful if I am on my own and do not have time to do the full walk, is walking until the path meets the road at the bridge (which is about half way) and then turning back. At this point the greenway continues alongside the road over the bridge before turning back along the lake. For today’s walk, we were doing the full walk to Avon Ri and back.

From the Russelltown Bay car park you enter the wooded area. The path is very flat so is great for kids in pushchairs or on bikes. Cyclists do use these paths so do watch out, and keep any dogs on a lead. The path winds deeper into the woods and away from the road. This part of the walk is quite magical, and the children we had with us loved it.

After about 2km, the path cuts across the Valley mount road. Be careful with children and dogs at this point, as the road can get very busy. Once you cross the road, through the green gates, you will be looking directly at the lake. Keep your eyes open here – the greenway turns to the left between some trees, and can be easily missed. If you do miss the turn and keep going straight, you will end up at the lake shore. This is a great spot to give your dogs a chance to cool down and have a drink.

After the path turns left, it circles around some marsh land. This part of the walk is a lot more open. You will also have a view of the lake most for most of this section. The path will turn sharply to the left and leads back towards the N81. Here you will be walking alongside the lake and will be able to see the greenway path continuing on the other side. There is a gate (usually locked) which you need to walk around before you come out on a lane which leads to the road. On this short lane there are a few houses, all of which have dogs – so if you are walking with dogs do ensure they are securely on their leads at this point.

As you come out on the road, there is a path which leads across the bridge. It is at this point that I would recommend turning around here if you do not want to do the round trip. This road is quite busy and the cars do travel very fast so do be very careful with children and dogs. The view as your cross the bridge is amazing on a clear day. The photo above was taken on a foggy Sunday morning, as the fog finally began to clear. The Greenway then turns left back off the busy road.

Along this stretch of the trail, there are some boardwalks which can be slippy during wet weather so be careful! The path continues alongside the lake. You will eventually come to a left turn. There is now a sign showing the Greenway takes this left, however I prefer to continue straight to the beach and then take the path through the trees back to meet Greenway trail. When coming back, I follow the Greenway trail and this creates a nice circle.

The last section of the walk to the Avon Ri  goes through the outdoor adventure centre so can be busy with groups taking part in orienteering and you can even meet Segway groups, so do keep children close. The Greenway ends in the Avon Ri car park and the Hotel itself is easily found (if you need a bathroom break at this point!)

The same path can be followed back to the Russelltown Bay Car Park.

Highlights:

  • The woodland path is magical and can trick you into thinking you are miles from civilization
  • Enjoy some fantastic views of the Blessington Lakes and the surrounding Wicklow Mountains
  • If walking to Avon Ri and back, take some time out at the Avon Ri to sit and have a drink or snack

 

Top Tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to explore! The trail is now very well signposted – but there are many paths along the lakes that are all entertained and from experience it’s pretty hard to get lost!
  • Do bring a camera! There are some great photo opportunities along the trail.
  • If you want to make a day of it, walk over to Russborough House to explore this amazing house and grounds.