Old Railway Line Walk

    A few years after our establishment as a charity, our next major campaign was sparked off. The Old Railway Line Walk, a nature trail leading from the town centre through fields and wetlands down to the harbour, came under threat of being turned into a road to access development lands. We staged a protest walk down the line and lobbied the Town Council to protect the walk, procuring over 300 signatures.

    Thankfully, in the end our persistence paid off, and the Council have protected and enhanced the Railway Line Walk as a nature and exercise trail. With the Council's assistance, we have provided illustrated signs along the walk detailing some of the history of the Old Railway Line, together with examples of the flora and fauna to be seen along the way. This information can also be found in our book Walk the Line, which is stocked in local bookshops. 75% of the proceeds from the book go to our Charity.

    In spite of the salvation of the Old Railway Line Walk itself, its peace continued to be threatened by a proposed access road designed to run alongside it. In 2000 we commissioned the Webb Report from the Irish Landscape Institute, which detailed viable alternative access points to the development in question. We presented this to the Town Council. Nevertheless, the Council itself proceeded to build a bridge across the Railway Line Walk to access these development lands. However, the development plans came to a complete halt with the crash of the Celtic Tiger, but the highly contested modern “bridge to nowhere,” as it is called locally, still stands.

    Unfortunately, this new bridge, which is very close to the old humpbacked bridge across the Railway Line Walk, is at odds with the graceful lines and fine stonework of the historic Railway bridge. When plans arose to rebuild this historic bridge, we entered discussions with the Town Council and the NRA (National Roads Authority), entreating them to preserve its original stone and graceful shape, while carrying out their modifications to the road itself. The NRA was agreeable to this proposal and carefully restored this beautiful old bridge, which is a pleasure to behold.

    We have continued to promote awareness of the importance of these and other heritage projects and to raise funds for them. As part of these objectives, we introduced our annual outings and lecture series, encompassing various aspects of our local and national heritage. We have also received funding from the Heritage Council of Ireland for numerous projects, and we have won several awards. We published a CD Rom detailing all the buildings in Westport at the turn of the millennium, and a book about the history, flora and fauna of the Old Railway Line Walk, entitled Walk the Line.

    Westport Civic Trust Aims

    Promote and initiate the preservation and protection, renewal and improvement of the buildings and other features of the natural, historical, cultural, scientific and architectural interest of the area, for the benefit of the community.

    Westport Civic Trust


    © 2018 Westport Civic Trust