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April Brophy from Sliabh Hiking Group shares some tips for getting outdoors over Christmas

Some Tips For Getting Outdoors Over Christmas!

Christmas is almost here, and we all know how fast-paced and hectic the build-up can be for everyone. But getting outdoors over Christmas in the fresh air can provide a well-needed refresh for all ages.

We spoke with April Brophy from local hillwalking group Sliabh Hiking, who put together some local trails for all the family to enjoy.

April discussed how 'being surrounded by nature can calm excited kids and soothe us grown-ups while outside providing a natural endorphin boost. Never mind, it’s a wonderful way to spend time together especially if you have family members visiting from afar. We are so lucky to have so many options on our doorstep in Waterford that we can bring them on’'. April advises ‘wrap up warm, pack a flask of tea and some festive treats, and head outside for some exploring’.

1: Dunmore Cliff Walk

One for the whole family to enjoy. This clifftop trail is well-maintained and easily accessible. The route provides amazing views of the coastline looking out over Dunmore bay and over to Hook head Lighthouse. Our four-legged friends are also permitted to join once kept on leads. The first section of the walk is a 4km return and can end at Portally Cove. A fabulous beach to stop and top up with festive treats. If you feel like going further, you can continue onto Rathmoylan Cove and Ballymacaw Cove is an almost 15km round trip with an amazing view all along the way.

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2: Crough Wood, Mahon Falls

This beautiful forest trail alongside the Mahon River is the perfect spot for the whole family. It's a place with nature at its best. Quiet, tranquil and provides a back door into the Comeragh Mountains and the Mahon Falls. The trail is flat most of the way and there are benches and even a couple of picnic tables to enjoy some refreshments along the way. It takes an average of 44 mins to complete. Keep an eye (and ear) out for some festive birds while on you’re on your walk such as a red-breasted robin – listen for its sweet tune!

3: Coumduala Loop Walk - For the explorers

This moderately challenging trail leads you to the stunning Coumduala Lough, set in the Comeragh Mountains. It is one of the most beautiful lakes in all of Ireland. Surrounded by rocks and mountains, it’s a real reward for those who complete it. On the trail, if you have a clear day you should be able to pick out surrounding areas such as Tramore Bay, Hook Head, Slievenamon, Mt. Leinster and the Backstairs Mountains. While on your left (southwest) you should see down to the coast. It takes an average of 2 hours to complete.

April adds ‘exploring the outdoors is one of the most enjoyable experiences we can utilise for free. Safety should always be a priority along with respecting the areas we explore. Be prepared for your walk by knowing your route, and the weather forecast, and be properly equipped with the right footwear and clothing, drinks and food. Park responsibly and respect private property. Practice the principles of Leaving no Trace and disposing of waste properly. In case of emergency always carry a phone and dial 999 or 112’'.

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By April Brophy, Sliabh Hiking Group. Follow Sliabh Hiking Group on Instagram.

When getting outdoors over Christmas why not use the hashtag #Walkerford to share your walking route or your view of the Déise.

Keep up to date on all that's happening in Waterford here.

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