Plans are progressing for the creation of a beautiful new walking trail alongside the Gort River, with a planning application now before the county council.
The proposed River Walk will be approximately 3.2km in length, starting from Gort town centre, and following the east side of the Gort River as it flows north.
After roughly 1.5km, the trail will cross the rive over a pedestrian bridge, which is also to be constructed as part of this project, before looping back into town.
The return path will follow an old existing pathway through the abandoned village of Kinincha.
“The development of the walking trail will require construction work to formalise existing rough tracks, renovate historic paths, and to instate new walking track routes designed to link specific vantage points.”
“Construction work is also required to install the proposed clear span footbridge, gates, signs, and safety equipment,” the planning application states.
The owners of the land along the river which would make up part of the walk have given their consent, subject to the conditions of a Memorandum of Understanding.
This states that the people who use this walk do so due to the kindness of the landowner, and “no matter how often they enter, or in what numbers, they do not do so as of right”.
The cost of the maintenance of the trail will fall on the Gort River Walk Development Group, which is making this application.
The new walking trail is meant to encourage fitness and give people a way to appreciate the local nature, as well as encourage conservation of the local environment and biodiversity, and discourage illegal dumping.
A Natura Impact Statement, Ecological Impact Assessment, and Flood Risk Assessment have been prepared and submitted as part of this application.
Galway County Council is due to make a decision on this planning application by January 2 of next year.