The Boyne Valley to Lakelands County Greenway is set to play a major role in the development of a new national greenway network. We recently spoke to Councillor Eugene Cassidy for a full update.
These are exciting times in the development of the Boyne Valley to Lakelands County Greenway (see our detailed page on it here), as it’s full steam ahead to complete all sections on the route. Not only that, but a key development for the future of the greenway will now see it recognised as part of a national greenway network.
Starting in Navan, Co Meath and the heart of the Boyne Valley, it flows north for 30km to Co Cavan and the town of Kingscourt, with ambitious new plans to extend it even further toward Co Monaghan and Co Louth.
We recently spoke to Councillor Eugene Cassidy for a full update on the greenway, which you can see below.
Click on the map on the right to see bigger and view the different sections.
The first 7km section of the greenway begins in Navan and runs to Wilkinstown. The stretch from Wilkinstown running south to Gibbstown (R163) has seen the most amount of work in recent times, and it is great to see it nearing completion. This section is set to be fully complete by the end of April 2022, which will be absolutely fantastic. Work has also commenced on the Gibbstown station side (just south of the R163) heading as far as Tara Mines tailing ponds for approximately 1.5km. It was initially hoped this would also be done by the end of April, but now it should hopefully be completed by early June.
The Navan-Gibbstown section will have a hard surface tarmac finish, while the rest will be compact gravel (similar to existing sections in Castletown and Nobber). There are also plans proposed by the Kilberry Amenity and Heritage Group to construct a new path on the R163 from the greenway to the Kilberry Pub & Kitchen.
Tara Mines, whose planned maintenance of buried pipelines has delayed work on the Navan end since 2019, are now said to be aiming to have all of their work done by December 2022. This will then allow for work to finally be completed as far as Ratholdren Road for the people of Navan to enjoy. In the meantime, the greenway will only be accessible via the R163 – not exactly an ideal starting point – so it is crucial that Tara Mines finally complete their work in a timely manner.
The Wilkinstown-Castletown section secured €500,000 funding from the 2021 ORIS scheme. It is expected to go out to tender later this year in Q3, so may be 2023 before this section is finished.
A contractor has been appointed and construction work is expected to start on this 3.2km section soon after Easter, with a view to it being fully completed by mid-summer. This will join up the existing and hugely popular sections in both Castletown and Nobber to form a 10km completed section. This section will also involve the construction of a new steel and timber bridge over the N52 road, as well as a link to The Cross Guns Gastropub.
In more great news, the last remaining section, Nobber-Kingscourt, will go to tender in late April and following the appointment of a contractor, work is expected to be start by July/August on the first stretch from Nobber as far as Kilmainhamwood (the tracks and some clearing work has already been done there). Work on the remaining stretch, approximately 7km from Kilmainhamwood to Kingscourt, will commence as soon as hedge-cutting season allows. There are also plans in the pipeline to link it to Dún a Rí Forest Park.
Up until recently, funding for the BVLC Greenway has been secured under regional funding schemes such as ORIS and Leader, thanks in large part to the hard work of Cllr Eugene Cassidy. Recently, however, a key development for the future of the greenway saw Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the state body responsible for the development of greenways, allocate funding of €500,000 for it. What this means is that the BVLC Greenway is now recognised as part of a national greenway network – as outlined in the Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways – alongside the likes of the Boyne Greenway, the Royal Canal Greenway and the Waterford Greenway.
This is not the only good news for the future of the greenway, as plans are already underway to extend it even further as far as Carrickmacross and Inniskeen in Co Monaghan and on to Dundalk in Co Louth, following the old Great Northern Railway’s Irish North West line. At Dundalk, it could link up with the Great Eastern Greenway (incorporating the Carlingford Greenway), linking Dublin to Belfast. A Scoping Study on the Carrickmacross-Dundalk line has as already been completed by Monaghan County Council.
At the other end, the BVLC Greenway is planned to currently end on Ratholdren Road, but a bold new proposal could see it continue further south and over the River Blackwater on the old railway line to come out on the Kells Road. This would make it more accessible to the centre of Navan and enable links to the Boyne Greenway on the other side of the town, providing safe cycling infrastructure is put in place through the busy town roads. The long-awaited Navan Rail Line, which was recently highlighted in the NTA’s plans for the GDA region, would make use of this line for a new ‘Navan North’ station, but realistically, this would be 10-15 years off and would, in all likelihood, require construction of a new bridge, so it is possible both the greenway and railway could work in tandem.
This greenway will be a wonderful asset for the people of Meath (and Cavan!) and we can’t wait until it is all finished. There is a lot of excitement and anticipation out there to have it all done, and we have had lots of messages and seen lots of people talking about it. Exciting times ahead!
A special thanks to Oliver Daly for the great photos of the greenway.