General guidelines for hill walkers
Engaging in hillwalking is, for many people, about freedom, overcoming challenges and a deep passion for the outdoors. However, enjoyment of the Irish countryside brings with it a responsibility for the environment. The Irish Ramblers Club promotes responsible outdoor recreation and ethics following the principles of leave no trace.
The following guidelines will help to increase members’ awareness when planning a trip into the countryside:
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Be considerate of others and respect private property, farmland, livestock, machinery and crops.
- Respect No Trespassing and other signs.
- Respect farm animals and leave all gates, fences, walls and hedges as you find them.
- Where walks cross private land, try to establish and maintain good relations with the landowner. Access problems should be handled in a non-confrontational manner and with due respect for the rights of those who live and work on the land.
- Accept the need for restrictions for valid conservation or land management reasons (e.g. erosion, seasonal bird nesting, deer breeding, tree felling ). Liaise with other organisations active on access issues. Keep them informed on any access issues encountered on walks.
- Respect wildlife, plants, trees and all natural things and take special care not to disturb birds and animals.
- Travel and camp on durable ground and more specifically,
- Walk on rock, stones or the most durable surface available, rather than on vegetation or soft ground.
- In heavily used areas, walk single file in the middle of the path, even if it’s wet and muddy (wearing gaiters will help to keep your feet dry). Avoid taking short cuts on zig zag paths as this creates new lines for run-off of water and increases erosion.
- Leave cairns as they are; old cairns could have archaeological value. New ones detract from the wild character of the hills and can mislead some walkers.
- Leave what you find
- Leave natural objects undisturbed – load your camera not your packs
- Dispose of waste properly
- Pick up litter when you see it (be cautious when handling waste).
- Take care not to cause any pollution, human waste should be buried at least 30m away from watercourses.
- Minimise the effects of fire
- Car share/pool where practical and park carefully to avoid blocking access to farmland or narrow roads.
Further information about our environment and access policies
The Irish Ramblers Club is an active member of Mountaineering Ireland and, in that context, subscribes to and promotes the environment and access policies published by MI on their website. To read the policies click on the following link:
We also support the principles of Leave No Trace. For specific details please click on the organisation’s link below: