This week I was alone in my exploring of one more hidden walking gem in Wicklow! I decided to take a path in Glendalough that is not as widely walked as some of the other trails. The walk is the “Silver Route” or Woodland walk which is marked with silver arrows. The trail circles the lower lake before climbing the base of Camaderry Mountain and then descends to meet St. Kevin’s Way.
Difficulty: 2/5. There is a short upwards climb from the Education Centre, and the final part of the assent is quite steep. However, this is only a very small section of the walk. Going the direction outlined in the below blog means you have a steep descent through the woods so ensure you have suitable footwear. The rest of the walk is very level.
Suitability: There are some tough parts, but these climbs should be no problem to anyone with moderate fitness. There is a steep climb down through a wood which can be slippy – proper footwear is a must, and walking sticks would be a bonus at this point. Not suitable for buggies, but fine for children & dogs on a lead.
Distance: 4km aprx
Time: The walk can easily be completed in an hour and a quarter (aprx 75 mins)
Information on Walk: The idea for this walk initially came from the wicklowwalks.com website:
Additional online information can be found here:
A Map & Information on this walk is available on the map board at the Information Center & the visitors center in Glendalough.
Map of Silver Route, Glendalough
As with most of the Glendalough walks, we began today’s walk at the Glendalough Visitors Centre car park. Many of the articles that I have read about this walk have suggested the Upper Lake car park however I usually like the added distance of parking at the Visitor’s Centre and the car park at the visitors centre is free! For this particular walk, which is a looped walk, it makes no difference to the length of the walk.
I set off from the car park, over the bridge and followed the Green Road towards the Upper Lake. There are two options at this point. You can continue on the Green Road to the Upper Lake or take the boardwalks to the Upper Lake. I took the boardwalk because it is slightly longer, and I find it a more interesting walk! Whichever route you take, make your way to the Information Centre beside the Upper Lake. If you continue on the Green Road you will arrive at the Information Centre. If you take the boardwalk you will arrive in the Upper Lake Car park and you can follow the signs to the Information Centre.
Across from the Information Centre there is a lovely Map Board which shows all the different marked walks. You can check out this walk on the map and see where you are heading! It is clearly marked with silver dots on the map.
From the Information Centre/Map Board, continue on the path towards the Upper Lake. Follow the path as it turns to the right along the Upper Lake shore line. From this point you will be following the silver arrows which will direct your way around the rest of the walk. As you walk along the lake shore you will be able to see the Education Centre nestled in the trees, where you are heading. The walk continues around the lake, turning left into the wooded area.
The walk turns right (follow the silver arrow!) just after the Education Centre. This part of the walk does climb into the trees, and is the hardest part of the walk. The path quickly levels out, and through the trees you will see some fantastic views of the valley. As you reach the highest part of this walk, the path does climb very steeply. This is only a few minutes’ walk, and when you get to the top it is downhill all the way!
A narrow path descends through the woods, and some parts of the ground can be quite soft and mucky. There is one part which has wooden boards due to the boggy ground underneath. Do take care, and be even more careful if there has been any recent heavy rainfall. This wooded path winds to the right and joins St. Kevin’s way which runs alongside the Glendasan River. This section of the walk is a wide path and is used by some vehicles so watch out for traffic.
The route follows St. Kevin’s way until it reaches the road just above the Monastic City. From here you can make your way back to the car park by either through the Monastic City if you want to take the scenic route or directly through the Glendalough Hotel Car Park.
- Enjoy a nice quiet walk, I did not meet one other person once I left the main paths.
- The section of the walk which joins St. Kevin’s Way along the Glendasan River will make you very envious of the locals whose gardens practically include this amazing walk.
- When you have finished your walk, take some time to explore the Monastic City located close to the Visitor’s Centre Car Park
- Make sure that you bring a phone with you as the walk is quite secluded so it important to have some link to the rest of the world! Also make sure someone knows that you are doing the walk and when they should expect you back.
- Ensure you bring warm layers, regardless of the weather. Some parts of the walk are open and it can be very windy.
- Do use the bathroom facilities before you leave the Visitors centre as you will not find another till you get back to Glendalough.
- If you have walking sticks, do bring them along. The walk down through the forest can be tough so anything to help would be a bonus!
- If you finish your walk around lunchtime, why not take a walk (or drive!) to the wonderful Wicklow Heather Restaurant which is located 1.5km from the Visitors Centre car park. Fantastic food and welcoming staff even when you turn up in your walking gear!