Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Call for Corbally link to be official biodiversity trail

Canal photos by Noel Clare.

The possibility of the tow path from Corbally Harbour to Naas Canal being upgraded to an official biodiversity walking trail will be raised at next week's meeting of the Kildare Newbridge Municipal District, writes Brian Byrne.

Cllr Tracey O'Dwyer has a motion on the meeting agenda asking Kildare County Council, in conjunction with Irish Waterways, to carry out a feasibility study on the matter.

The councillor told the Diary that there are a number of potential biodiversity walking trails which could be developed in the local area, and she hopes that at least one of these could be 'got over the line' during during 2021 or by early 2022.

"We live in a beautiful area, and thankfully a lot of people have realised that, when they were out on their walks over the last year. Whatever kind of development is going on, I'd like to see biodiversity and natural heritage discussed with the same importance as is drainage or road surfaces, that it is to the fore in everything we do."

The walk, which was featured in a recent article on the Bridge magazine by Noel Clare, is approximately 8kms long. Corbally Harbour, the terminus of the branch is just 7mins drive from Kilcullen. The illustration below of what it might have been like was produced by Naas graphic designer Eamon Sinnott (and used here by kind permission) for a Kildare Tow Path Trails booklet in 2015, with an excellent commentary by Naas local historian Liam Kenny.

The canal branch was built in the early 1800s, with the Harbour being used as a collection and delivery point for goods in the area, including Reeve's Mill in Athgarvan. It was closed to navigation in 1954 when the bridge at Jigginstown was turned into a culvert to facilitate traffic on the main road to the south through Naas.

The towpath is walkable all the way, but can be rough underfoot in poor weather.

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