Boyne Valley to Lakelands County Greenway

A beautiful new 30km Greenway from Navan, Co Meath, to Kingscourt, Co Cavan

By Ed Moynihan, Navan Cycling Initiative

The new Boyne Valley to Lakelands County Greenway (BVLC Greenway) has the potential to be one of the best. Not to be confused with its close relation the Boyne Greenway (see more here), it begins in Navan, Co Meath and the heart of the Boyne Valley, and flows north to Co Cavan and the historic town of Kingscourt. It follows the route of the old railway line and along its winding journey passes through the villages of Wilkinstown, Castletown, Nobber and Kilmainhamwood before ending in Kingscourt, not far from Dun A Rí Forest Park.

Current Status

The BVLC Greenway is currently in several stages of development. Work has been completed on a 1.5km section at Nobber (see photos below), and a 1.4km section in Castletown, while funding has recently been secured (under ORIS 2020) to join those two sections up to form a completed 10km section. In Navan, the starting point for the greenway, funding was secured for the Navan-Wilkinstown section in 2019, but there have been delays. Work commenced on this section at Gibbstown and Wilkinstown in November 2021 and is expected to be completed early in 2022, but work at the Navan end has been delayed due to ongoing works by Tara Mines installing underground pipes along by the tailings pond. Councillor Eugene Cassidy, the man who first proposed the greenway to the local council and the main driving force to getting it delivered, recently stated that this work will be finished by late 2022, and we certainly hope it is completed as soon as possible. Meanwhile, funding was secured for the Wilkinstown-Castletown section, under ORIS 2021, in November 2021. We hope to see funding for the final section, Nobber-Kingscourt – including a spectacular boardwalk over Whitewood Lough in Kilmainhamwood – confirmed soon, to complete the full Greenway route.

The Route

The greenway begins at the railway line on the Ratholdren Road in Navan (see map below). There are plans to join it up to nearby Blackwater Park with the instalment of a new cycle path, which will create a wonderful ammenity for the people of Navan, especially in a time when a demand for outdoor space is at an all time high. Heading north from Navan, it will pass close to Kilberry and a local favourite, Scanlons Pub and Restaurant, which has recently been renovated, to offer cyclists an ideal resting spot. The greenway then heads for the charming village of Wilkinstown before reaching the edges of Castletown. At the busy N52 junction just after Castletown, it will see the creation of a new cycleway steel and timber bridge over the road, which will be a great addition. Edit: there are also plans underway for a realignment of the N52, which will create an additional crossing. See more information here.

After the N52, the greenway will pass by popular gastropub Cross Guns, which will be connected up with a short path. Cross Guns has some exciting plans to be unveiled around the greenway, including an eco pod village, and has some great outdoor seating areas to make it an ideal destination for lots of hungry cyclists. It then runs on to Nobber, with a lovely route running behind the village alongside the GAA pitch and the old church. Since the greenway opened in Nobber, the village has received a huge boost with businesses thriving and lots of people visiting the area, with The Greenways Cafe and the Kick Ass Cafe just two new spots to open in recent times. From Nobber, it passes by Whitewood Lake, which has the potential to be the must see destination on the entire greenway. Whitewood Lake is the home of Ireland’s own Loch Ness Monster, with this report from the archives of RTE sure to be of interest. At Kingscourt, the greenway ends at the site of the old Kingscourt Railway Station, with plans to link up cycling facilities to Dun A Rí Forest Park, which would create a beautiful loop back to the greenway.

It should be also pointed out that each community along the route has the ability to create their own local loops off the main greenway that will make their own unique attractions and amenities more widely accessible. Slí Na hOibrè, the Nobber loop, has proved a great hit with the locals, while in Castletown, the vast benefits to the local community has gained national coverage. Paths, gates, benches, signage and road surfaces are also improved in villages and areas around greenways, making them a more attractive place to live.

Old Railways

There is often criticism of greenways on old railway lines, with people saying active train lines are needed more, yet if anything in the majority of cases the railway tracks and the ability to put them back in are preserved alongside the routes. If not for greenways, the land could be sold off for development or zoning, meaning the old railway lines would be gone forever, but greenways like this preserve the route and the history of the old railways lines. And they could, potentially, go back in if the need was there. Greenways also help to rejuvenate communities and small towns by creating new businesses like bike hire, bike repair, cafes, restaurants and guesthouses. A feasibility study, carried out by Kieran Boyle Consulting, found that the BVLC Greenway has the potential to attract 150,000 visitors annually who will bring an estimated spend of €6 million to the local economy.

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    Looking forward to it, Please advise updates on its construction.

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