03 Oct 2022

Check out Outdoor Kilkenny's top six walking trails this autumn

It's the perfect time season to get out and about for a stroll in our beautiful county


Kilkenny has a huge range of trail adventures for families and individuals to explore

Outdoor Kilkenny are urging local people to stay active while social distancing by enjoying one of the many walking trails in the County.

Kilkenny has a huge range of trail adventures for families and individuals to explore. Here are Outdoor Kilkenny’s picks of the best Kilkenny spots to get a dose of autumn beauty:

Castlecomer Loop - Easy

Ardra Loop: 6km/1hr30mins-2hrs

Captains Loop: 4km/45mins-1hr

Directions to Trailhead:  Enjoy a forest walk in Castlecomer. Breath in the fresh air and enjoy the scenery across the wonderfully restored leisure lakes. There is a choice of waymarked walking loops which include the 1.5km Ladies Walk, the Arboretum Walk (2km), the Captain’s Walk (4km) and the Ardra Loop

Mountain Grove Loop - Easy

Trailhead: Car park, Mountain Grove Woods, Piltown, Kilkenny.

Distance/Time:  4km /1hr -1hr30mins

Directions to Trailhead: Start from the village of Piltown which is just off the N24 from Carrick-on-Suir and Waterford. Take the R698 northward in the direction of Owning and Kilkenny. After 2km continue straight towards Templeorum as the R698 turns left. At a crossroads after 4km veer right and the trailhead is less than 1km on the left. Note: The trailhead is signposted from Piltown.

Woodstock Loop - Moderate

Trailhead: Inistioge Village Car Park

Distance/Time: Woodstock Loop: 4.5Km / 1-1.5hrs

Ladies Loop: 3km/ 45mins-1hr

Directions to Trailhead: Woodstock House Gardens and Arboretum can be accessed on foot from Inistioge Village via the Woodstock Loop Walks. Woodstock Gardens are located in the south east of Kilkenny just outside the picturesque village of Inistioge. The gardens, overlooking the River Nore Valley, offer the visitor a wide variety of attractions and are a most relaxing and beautiful environment in which to spend a day.

The gardens are home to a mix of formal and informal gardens with an arboretum, walled garden, terraced garden, yew walk and rose garden providing the main interest. Also of significance are two stunning avenues, the Monkey Puzzle Avenue and Noble Fir Avenue. Also of interest is a rustic summer house, constructed from materials from the gardens and a fountain to replace the original which was sold from the gardens c.1930. The arboretum is home to many fine specimen trees from Asia and South America in particular.

A number of these trees are recognised as champion trees due to their size.  Nearby to the Arboretum is the Walled Garden laid out with fruit trees, a vegetable garden and a beautiful herbaceous border. Just outside the Walled garden is our stunning cast iron conservatory which houses the tea shop. 

Nore Valley Walk - Moderate

The Nore Valley walk stretches from Kilkenny city to Inistioge and follow the River Nore. The walk is divided into three sections: Kilkenny to Bennettsbridge, Bennettsbridge to Thomastown and Thomastown to Inisitoge. Below you can find two sections of the walk. 

Kilkenny City to Bennettsbridge

Directions to Trailhead: The Nore Valley Walk starts in Kilkenny City at the Lacken Walk. At the end of Maudlin Street there is a small car park which leads to the Lacken Walk. Follow the Lacken walk to Ossary Bridge and then continue along the Nore Valley Walk. The Nore Valley Walk is signposted from here to Bennettsbridge. After 2km along the river bank the trail heads through a laneway and onto the Sion Road. Follow this road for 1.5km then cross a green stile, through a field and back to the river bank. The route takes you through farmland, ruined mills, woods and then to the village of Bennettsbridge. 

Thomastown to Inistioge

Trailhead: Moderate

Distance / Time: 2-3 hours

Additional info: To protect farm animals, no dogs allowed

Directions to Trailhead:  From Thomastown: Starting in the town of Thomastown go south across the bridge and follow the green arrows to the Thomastown GAA pitch. Walk along the border of the GAA pitch to the river bank. From Inistioge: Approaching from the village square, arrive at the riverbank and turn left along the river.

South Leinster Way - Graiguenamanagh to Inistioge - Moderate/Hard

Trailhead: Points Rd Inistioge & Outdoor Activities Hub Graiguenamanagh
Distance/Time: 17km – 5 hours
High/Ascent: 490m
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard
Terrain:  Country roads. woodland. forestry roads. Hillside Tracks
Gear: Walking boots, rain gear, fluids and mobile phone

“Kilkenny is great during the summer, but it’s during the autumn months that the county is at its most beautiful," says   Harry Everard, Trail Kilkenny.

"We are urging people to get out and about and explore the county’s variety of walking trails, there is something for everyone; of all ages and abilities which are open to the public for that all important colourful autumn stroll.”  

For more, see

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