Now that we can travel within our County, Outdoor Kilkenny is calling on people to get out and explore all the wonderful places on their doorstep. From woodland trails, to mountain pursuits and family strolls, here Outdoor Kilkenny reveals its Top Amazing Outdoor Spaces & Walks:
Woodstock Gardens Forest Walk
Explore the Kilkenny countryside with a 3.5km loop trail through to the beautiful Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum, overlooking the River Nore Valley and the picturesque village of Inistioge. Their walled garden which is abundant with flowers and vegetables, the yew walk, rose garden, Monkey Puzzle Avenue and Noble Fir Avenue are all great places to explore!
Another great location for a family outdoor escape is Jenkinstown Woods. There are two marked walks through the forest – the Walled Garden Loop (2.5 km) and the Jenkinstown Wood Loop (4km). Both walks start and finish at the car park and are suitable for both younger and older family members.
This 12km trail follows minor roadways, forestry tracks and hillside patches to reach the ultimate peak! Once visitors arrive, they won’t regret the decision to tackle the challenging and scenic trail together, especially its spectacular pink and peach sunset of Summer!
Tory Hill is a 4km lightly trafficked loop trail located near the small village of Mullinavat, it features beautiful wild flowers that nature lovers will adore and is perfect for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and ideal for family day-trips with a picnic!
Castlecomer Wood Walk
Discover the depth and variety of some of the country’s most beautiful woodlands at the 80-acre Castlecomer Wood Walk. Situated at their renowned Discovery Park, the walk offers a wide range of trails and walkways, riverside strolls and family ambles to explore.
Kilkenny Castle Parklands
Kilkenny Castle Park comprises of an incredible 21 hectares of land providing the ideal spot for a picnic no matter how big the family are!! The park also has woodland walks & a superb children’s playground with swings, slides, bridges and benches for adults too and is open until 8.30pm during the summer.
Nore Valley Walking Route – Kilkenny to Bennettsbridge
Set against the beautiful backdrop of this scenic valley, with acres of parkland and woodlands to explore, Nore Valley Park provides hours of amusement for the family. Walk the 3km nature trail to the scenic town of Bennettsbridge or test your skills on their giant chess board ‘en route’!
Ballyrafton Wood, Ballyfoyle
Located just off the Castlecomer Road, Ballyrafton is one of Kilkenny’s smaller wooded trails. This circular walk starts and finishes at the carpark and is an ideal walk for all abilities and ages. At the ‘finale’ in the car park, you will be greeted by the welcome sight of some picnic tables, ideal for re-fuelling!
Mountain Grove, Piltown
Trickling streams and picturesque woodlands are what Mountain Grove is renowned for. This is a very ‘do-able’ 4km long walk for all the family but is not ideal for those with smaller children in buggies as the ground can be notoriously muddy after the rain!
Coill an Fhaltaigh
Coill an Fhaltaigh in Castleinch, has three marked walkways, all of which are suitable for all ages. Covering 230 acres, here you will find a pond and wildlife sanctuary with lots of flora and fauna to feast the senses on. There are picnic tables beside the car park, so be sure to arrive stocked!
Lacken Walk, Kilkenny City
For those preferring a shorter stroll, Laken Way is a 1.6km walk filled with stunning vistas along the riverside from Maudlin Street to Ossary Bridge. A boardwalk helps walkers navigate the journey and there are many picnic tables and seating along the way so walkers can stop and soak in the views.
All the walks on Kilkenny Walking Trails are free of charge and take place in areas of local heritage and natural history interest, taking walkers alongside rivers and canals as well as through towns and villages. The walks are of varying lengths and gradients, from the ‘easier’ routes like Castlecomer Loop & City Walks to the more difficult Brandon Hill Loop, all offering something for everyone no matter what their interests or abilities.
Commenting on the variety of outdoor places to explore in Kilkenny, Gareth Alcorn from Outdoor Kilkenny said; “Now that restrictions have eased and we can now travel within our own county, we are urging people to take the opportunity to explore the undiscovered, venture to places never visited or relive childhood memories or paths once taken. Kilkenny has an incredible number of walks, climbs, hikes and picnic locations ideal for that family day out we have all been waiting for!”