With the return of sunny weather and the easing of restrictions allowing more freedom of movement people are getting out and about to explore their city and county.
Kilkenny is famed for its walking trails and scenic hikes and the jewel in its crown has to be the Nore Valley Walk which follows the River Nore from Kilkenny City out to Bennettsbridge.
The walk is accessible from the Ossory Bridge on the outskirts of the city and is a 12-kilometre trek. There are several places to rest and picnic and there are also refreshments available in Bennettsbridge. The path is clearly marked and is on level ground but there are stiles and bridge and the walk is not suitable for buggies or people living with mobility issues.
Within a 15-minute drive of the city there are numerous options including the Millenium Woods, Ballyrafton Woods and Jenkinstown Park - all are run by Coillte and have picnic tables.
Jenkinstown is a favourite amenity spot for many with its walled garden, ancient forestry has rich heritage. The wood has two looped walks for both a short stroll or a longer walk, both these trails are waymarked. The Walled Garden Loop (2.5kms) is a nice short walk through the forest taking in St. Colman’s well and starting and finishing through “doors-in-the-walls” and The Jenkinstown Loop (4kms) loops around the perimeter of Jenkinstown Park wood and takes in a few viewing points on the west side of the wood to take in the countryside. There is also herd of deer in the walled garden area off the main car park.
The Millenium Woods is accessible for all has two looped walks for both a short stroll or a longer walk, both these trails are waymarked; The Green Walk (2.2kms,) is a short walk through the forest and The Red Walk (3.3kms) loops around the millennium forest section of the wood.
Castlemorris Woods, a few minutes drive from exit 10 of the M9 motorway has three looped walks for both a short stroll or a longer walk, all these trails are waymarked; The Fern Loop (3kms) is a nice short walk through the forest up to the ruins of the outbuildings that used to be in the courtyard of Castlemorris house; The Holly Loop (6kms) and the Pheasant Loop (7km) take you further into and around the forest, there is also an option to visit the church and round tower a short distance (200m) from these trails.
Meanwhile at Castlecomer Discovery Park there are a number of forest trails to suit all ages and abilities. There are four different options ranging in distance from 1 .5 km to 5km. With over eighty acres of woodland and lakeside to explore there is plenty of space to exercise and get fit and enjoy the great outdoors in a stunning setting.
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