The judges spent the day with the Wicklow Uplands Council on 8 August
The council was formed in 1997 to face the growing pressures facing the Wicklow Uplands. It consists of over 50 members, all dedicated to preserving the uplands for the community.
The council are committed to educating and addressing the needs of the local people with regards to the uplands. They stay focused with their official mission statement:
To support the sustainable use of the Wicklow uplands through consensus and partnership with those who live, work and recreate there
The judges were introduced to the work done by the council, including some of their ongoing projects. These projects have been labelled as models of ‘eco-community’, focused on how the community can work with the uplands and preserve it for future generations.
The council highlighted some of the more successful of these projects:
- The PURE project which aims to combat illegal dumping in the uplands.
- The ongoing Outdoor Recreation Project, which it has been developing in different programmes over the last ten years.
- Finally the work being done to encourage conservation farming in the uplands, known as Vegetation Management.
These projects tie into the official objectives of the Wicklow Uplands Council, which are:
- To build consensus and understanding between the stakeholder groups
- To represent the shared interests of the upland communities
- To respond to the challenges facing the uplands through innovative projects and partnerships
A Walk in the Park
The judges were welcomed to Roundwood, Co Wicklow to learn more about the council’s work. Leaders of the board led a discussion panel, which was followed by an organised walk around the grounds. Local member Pat Dunne agreed to allow the judges walk through his land in order to see first hand how the council’s work benefited local people. The walk concluded through Glenmalure, where the judges saw the natural beauty of the uplands.
The judges had the chance to see some of the heritage cottages along the route and see how the council impacted the community’s day-to-day life.
The judges then heard about some of the policies that the council implements on the community in relation to the Uplands. These include:
- Dog control
- Leave no trace
- Renewable Energy
These policies show the thought that goes into the council’s work. Each one helps the community keep the Uplands a natural beauty.
The full information on these policies and more on the work being done can be found on the council’s website.