Children using a former boardwalk at Carn Park Bog.

Go ahead for 6.5km loop linking Carn and Baylin trails

Details of a new 6.5km leisure trail in the Mount Temple and Baylin areas of Athlone were set out at the December meeting of Westmeath County Council.

Members have approved the development after discussing a report on the proposal drawn up by deputy chief executive Barry Kehoe.

The outdoor recreation infrastructure scheme (ORIS) for Carn Park Link Trail at Baylin, is intended to complete a leisure route utilising the existing Baylin Bog Trail and Carn Park Forest Walk, taking in the townlands of Twyford, Moydrum, Tullywood, Warren High and Carn Park.

Some of the route will comprised “shared space” along two portions of local road, one for a stretch of 635m, the other of 235m.

The proposed works are located to the south of Baylin village which also enjoys proximity to the ‘Old Rail Trail Greenway’, and the planning report stated that the aim is to create a pleasant, usable, safe pedestrian/cycle pathway and to create circular routes between the village of Baylin, Baylin Bog Trail and Carn Park Forest Walk.

As part of the development, a 367m raised boardwalk and a gravel path of 625m linking the Baylin Bog Trail and Carn Park Forest Walk will be installed, and also a controlled crossing point for Scoil Ciaran between the existing set-down bays and the school access gate.

As a portion of the trail crosses a section of cutover bog that lies within Carn Park Bog SAC the council engaged the services of an environmental consultancy firm to undertake an ecological impact assessment.

It concluded that the works do not pose a risk of significant ecological impact.

In terms of archaeology and cultural heritage, there are no recorded monuments within the site boundary, but a desk-based archaeological impact assessment is to be prepared.

Proposing that the council give the development the go-ahead, Cllr Frankie Keena said it was an exciting project. Praising the work done to date by the Baylin Development and Residents Association, he said the walking route has become very popular and he said the extension of the route would benefit the entire community.

Cllr Louise Heavin seconded Cllr Keena’s proposal, adding that she knew the area well having grown up there. She particularly welcomed the introduction of shared spaces on two stretches of local road and noted that the speed limit on these was to be 30 kph, and recommended that the council look at the possibility of having a 30 kph limit along the road leading to the Old Rail Trail greenway.

Cllr Paul Hogan also regarded it as an exciting project: “I think it will be a tremendous asset for the area,” he said.

Cllr John Dolan welcomed the safety measures proposed, especially along the shared spaces, but like Cllr Heavin, felt that even more were needed.