Many of the walking routes described in our walking guides depend on the goodwill of landowners for their existence. Inconsiderate behaviour by walkers can lead to access being withdrawn and apparently established routes being lost. The main cause of contention is dogs. It is at the discretion of landowners whether they give permission for walkers to take dogs onto their land or not. Given the prevalence of sheep farming in Ireland, it comes as no surprise that dogs are generally banned. Damage to farm fences and walls, inconsiderate parking and litter are some of the other reasons why walkers become unpopular with landowners.
Inconsiderate outdoor behaviour can also have a negative impact on the environment and on other people’s enjoyment of the area. Leave No Trace Ireland is a network of organisations that promotes responsible recreational use of the outdoors. It has designed a programme to help walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts understand the impact of their activities and to value the natural environment. For full details of the principles involved, please see www.leavenotraceireland.org