The Greenway / Cycleway, currently running between Newport and Mulranny, will soon be opened along its full length from Westport to Achill, giving a 42-km long almost entirely off-road cycling and walking (hiking) route here in West Mayo.
The Greenway traces the old disused railway line from Westport mainline train station to the terminal at Achill Sound, situated just before the bridge over to the island itself. The railway was in place from 1894 to 1937 and its most famous feature is undoubtedly the magnificent viaduct over the Newport River in the village of the same name.
In 2010, the Greenway was opened and became successful immediately, with many locals joined by growing numbers of tourists using it for exercise and as a day-trip tourism facility. There are at least three providers of bicycles for hire, based in Westport or Newport.
There is a map of the currently open stretch of the Greenway here.
April 2011 should see the full opening of the line and I look forward to seeing if other cycle hire businesses spring up at the Achill end of the line, to provide competition to those based around Westport.
There are also plans to develop a walkway / cycleway from Castlebar, through Islandeady, out to meet the Greenway perhaps at Westport. That would be a longer term project and would surely take several years to realise. It would certainly be an interesting extension.
If you are thinking of making the Westport – Newport – Achill area your base for an outdoors activity break in 2011, then do consider coming along on one of my entirely off-road guided walking events in the hills and bogs of the same area. Take a look at my events on this website. You’d be most welcome to come hillwalking in West Mayo.