I enjoy walking and as you probably know I also like photography. Therefore I’m always on the look out for spots of natural beauty where you might get a glimpse of a sparrow hawk or a kingfisher or just a nice landscape photo. About a year ago I came across a walk from St. Mullins to Graiguenamangh. This is called the Barrow Line and the walk meanders along the side of the barrow and takes about 2 hour 20 to walk. (This includes me taking about 50 photos along the way!). One day while walking here I saw a sign for ‘Save the Barrow Line’ and I was dismayed to hear of the plans for this stretch of walkway.
What is the Barrow Line?
The Barrow Line is the local name for a unique natural grassy tow-path along Ireland’s second longest river, The Barrow. This river is one of the Three Sisters rivers and flows through towns like Athy, Carlow, Leighlinbridge, Bagenalstown, Goresbridge, Graiguenamanagh, St. Mullins and New Ross. The Barrow Line is used by walkers and cyclists who enjoy the nature and the area’s outstanding scenic beauty.
The authors of Hiking in Ireland have described the Barrow Line as, “a peaceful green corridor a world away from distractions of the modern world. ”
The Threat to the Barrow Line
Apparently Waterways Ireland has plans to apply for planning permission to replace the lush grassy surface of the 90km Barrow Line route with a hard surface. Locals think that this huge change will irreversibly destroy the fabric of this unique amenity – this is why the Save the Barrow Line petition was set up.
Personally I think there are some major points regarding this hard surface;
- With the fact that this area has had such problems with flooding in December 2015, adding an extra hard surface is just going to make drainage even more of a problem.
- I enjoy walking on this line because 99% of it is a well maintained grassy surface – if I wanted to walk on tar or stones I would walk on the road. Why add more concrete, tar or stone to a very picturesque area.
- Nature flourishes in this area, making this a hard surface could in my view affect this. You see bugs, and insects on the grass all the time. I think it could affect biodiversity on the line.
I think the solution is to maintain the grassy line, and at most a single file cycle path as a hard surface. This would be a compromise which would see both parties happy should it come to an impasse.
Hopefully it will not come to that and we will maintain a grassy surface on that walk. I have already signed the petition but you can add your voice to the Save the Barrow Line petition below.