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Current patterns of use on the Burren Way, and suggested improvements to the route

By Helen Farrell, Ken Boyle and Krysia Rybaczuk


The research presented here considers the use of the Burren Way, a long-distance walking route in the northwest of Co. Clare. It is one of thirty two waymarked ways in Ireland, which area managed on a day-to-day basis by local volunteers under the authority of the central National Waymarked Ways Advisory Committee (NWWAC). \ud \ud Questionnaires, which were administered on the route, investigated users’ preferences and motivations for use, while online questionnaires investigated the landscape preferences of the wider walking community based on photographed scenes’ attractiveness to respondents. Further research comprised an electronic count of passers by at two points on the route, and a participative mapping exercise to investigate stakeholders’ patterns of route use. Spatial patterns of use where then further investigated using GIS overlays of preferences and commonly-walked routes with digital data on landscape character and land cover (CORINE) data. \ud \ud Results show that, while northern sections of the route pass through potentially attractive landscapes and are generally popular among stakeholders and walkers alike, the southern sections of the Burren Way are used less and considered less attractive. Suggestions are therefore made for improvements to the route of the Burren Way, based on current patterns of use, the findings of the preference survey and the existing environmental designations in the region. It was found that many additional routes could be developed within a small area, creating a network of loop walks. These new routes lay within potentially attractive scenery, did not cross private land and avoided busier roads – all of these criteria were identified by participants as affecting their enjoyment of the route. Environmental considerations were also included, and the improved routes avoided the most fragile land and designated the SACs, SPAs and the National Park

Topics: N800 Tourism, Transport and Travel
Year: 2007
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