Riverside heritage walk approved for Buttevant

A sketch of the proposed riverside heritage walk for Buttevant, looking south.

Buttevant Community Council and Buttevant Heritage Group are delighted to announce that planning permission has been granted to develop a Riverside Heritage Walk on the banks of the River Awbeg next to Buttevant. This walk will weave together multiple heritage and historical aspects of importance. The walk will act as a crucial link between the town and its distant past, as it contains the largest remaining sections of the 14th Century Medieval Town Walls. By developing this public walk at this location, the Community Council and Heritage Group hope to showcase the rich heritage of the town and the wider area.
The site for the proposed walk lies to the east of the Friary between the town walls and the River Awbeg. As it is located on a flood plain and within a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), the planning application had to undertake detailed an ecological and conservation study. The walk is proposed to include a raised and looped hardwood walkway, elevated slightly over the floodplain, and this aspect will allow year round accessibility over the often-difficult terrain.
There will be two access points via the adjoining lanes, Mill Lane to the south, and School Lane to the west. Around the boardwalk itself, the development of a wet meadow and associated native planting is intended to foster a wild type park, while a slight depression within the meadow is provided to accommodate wetland planting. This site was once a millpond, and allowing water fill this area is an important link with the heritage of the site.
Seating is proposed along the looped walkway to allow for stopping points along the route, while information signs about the flora and fauna will sensitively highlight the rich architectural backdrop of Buttevant Town and its heritage buildings.
John Lee, Chairman of Buttevant Community Council, said that this decision is the result of over 12 months of hard work by a dedicated team. “We have a very active working committee, and an exceptional technical support team engaged to progress this project,” he said. “It is the collective experience of this team which will ensure the effective management, oversight, delivery and operation of this project. A special note of thanks has to go to Cathal O’Meara, Landscape Architect, Eamonn Cotter Consulting Archaeologist, and John Kelly Conservation Engineer, who diligently put hours and hours of time and effort into getting the project to where it is.”
“We also have to acknowledge the huge support we have received from Cork County Council and Avondhu/Blackwater Partnership CLG, the OPW, the National Parks and Wildlife Services, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and the Inland Fisheries.”
“In advance of the Heritage Riverside Walk commencing, restoration work to Town Walls is currently underway by way of €95,000 Munster Vales REDZ Funding and a €30,000 Heritage Grant under the IWTN Conservation/Capital Grant Scheme 2017. In addition, the Community Council have secured €100,000 under Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2017 to initially progress the boardwalk and associated works, however, we will be seeking additional funding to finalise the project,” said Mr Lee, who added that the walk will provide a highly desirable attraction in a tranquil riverside setting, and could, in time, be incorporated into a more extensive riverside walk.
“This project emerged from a period of local consultation with all members of the community, residents and statutory bodies. This project is one of the key projects identified in the Cork County Council local area development plan.”
“In terms of sustainability, tourism development, increased visitor numbers, job creation, business development and improved quality of life, this project has the potential to transform the town. This has the potential to bring together the heritage, history story and monuments of Buttevant within one coherent and contempory visitor experience, where the different aspects of the project are currently unconnected and inaccessible, when completed they will be as one.
“Buttevant has been a walled town for 700 years and the core of the town has six national monuments which will be incorporated within the river walk, and will enhance and reveal Buttevant’s hidden gems.”
A central tenet of this project is community engagement and voluntary effort – this contribution cannot be understated or under estimated, with volunteers and helpers always on hand to assist when needed.
“The next step in the project is to go out to tender to finalise the overall cost of the entire project. It will then be back to the drawing board to appoint the contractors and commence the works, we look forward to the date in the not too distant future when we can all meet down by the riverside and take a well-deserved walk along our Heritage Boardwalk,” he said in conclusion. “Buíochas as do thacaíocht anois agus amach anseo.”