A Walking Trail for Castlecomer, County Kilkenny
Kilkenny Leader Partnership commissioned Flynn Furney Environmental Consultants to carry out a feasibility study of a new recreational walking trail at Castlecomer. This was to be a woodland walking trail within the grounds of the estate here. The proposed works involved with this project include track clearance, trail widening, removal and stock piling of material and the laying of a new trail surface.
The trail will cross Coillte-owned woodland and follows a forestry road for 500 metres before narrowing into immature mixed woodland. From here the route will crosses the Smithton river before opening into a steep-sided gorge covered in mature mixed woodland for approximately 2km. A spur off the main route is proposed which will lead to a Ring Fort at the southernmost point of the proposed route. The route then follows the course of the Dinin River before entering a small wood, crossing the Dinin and emerging at a small green in Castlecomer.
A new bridge crossing is proposed as part of this project. Work here would include bank clearance, construction of bridge foundations and the installation of new bridge infrastructure. Because the works will involve crossing a part of the River Barrow and River Nore SAC, our studies closely examined potential impacts on this protected site. On carrying out an Appropriate Assessment Screening, we could not rule out the potential for impacts on this designated site. We therefore carried out a Stage II Natura Impact Statement. This set out a range of mitigation measures that would address any potential impacts on the SAC that we had identified in our screening assessment.