Rural Recreation and Walks Scheme

The Walks Scheme is a national scheme open to all landholders on National Waymarked Ways, Looped Walking Routes and Heritage Routes along with other National Trails Office approved trails. The scheme only operates where there is agreement on the entire walk and is not available for part of a walk. 

We have over  230  landowners taking part in our Walks Scheme in County Mayo. The walks covered under the scheme include: 

  • Western Way 
  • Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail 
  • Clogher Loop Walks 
  • Achill Spur 
  • Burrishoole walks


The Walks Scheme is administered by South West Mayo Development Company with the assistance of the National Trails Office at the Irish Sports Council and Fáilte Ireland. We work in association with local walking management committees and Mayo County Council on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development. 

The Walks Scheme is aimed at private landowners who are paid to carry out a specified and agreed maintenance plan for approved walking routes through their lands (5-year contracts). 

Applications for participation on the Walks Scheme can only be submitted where there is agreement on the entire walk and is not available for part of a walk. The scheme is currently closed for new applications. 

South West Mayo Development Company has a dedicated Rural Recreation Officer who works across County Mayo. This post is funded by the Department of Community and Rural Development and Fáilte Ireland. 

The Rural Recreation Officer’s work includes: 

  • carrying out of the National Countryside Recreation strategy 
  • overseeing work on the general upkeep, upgrade and re-routing of trails 
  • assisting Fáilte Ireland in the development, marketing and promotion of trails and key walking destinations, including media and trade visits 
  • working with local communities in developing trails and assisting in organising walking festivals 
  • assisting with the implementation of the ‘Leave No Trace’ initiative 

Our Rural Recreation Officer has a significant role to play in promoting and encouraging the development, delivery and improvement of recreational projects, infrastructure and activities on land or water including mountain access. 

Projects need to have full support of the community to ensure success. Our Rural Recreation Officer is available to community groups and individuals to discuss recreation projects. 

As well as the Walk Scheme, our Rural Recreation Officer is involved in a number of other trail projects in County Mayo including: 

  • Slí Grainne Mhaol Loop Walk 
  • Balla Town Parks, 
  • Great Western Greenway and, 
  • Development of a new Walking Hub at Clogher Environmental Centre 
Website links:

National Trails Office: 
Leave No Trace: 
National Parks and Wildlife Service;:https://www.npws.ie 
Mayo County Council:           › 
Coillte Outdoors: › Our Forests 
Department of Rural and Community Development: 
The Walks Scheme and Rural Recreation Officers 
Cara Sport Inclusion Ireland. 
Mountaineering Ireland: 
Mayo Walks Websites :
The Western Way: 
Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail: 
Great Western Greenway: 

For more information please contact: 

Martin DillaneRural Recreation Officermdillane@southmayo.com087 657 8147

Apply for the Walks Scheme


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