Start Where You Wish

The Sheep’s Head Way is a Long Distance Walk over 150km encompassing the Sheep’s Head Peninsula and the general Bantry area.

It is a ridge and shoreline walk, so that you can start and finish the walk anywhere you wish. For the sake of convenience, the guidebook will take it that you will begin in Wolfe Tone Square, Bantry, go out west on the northern (Bantry Bay) side of the peninsula, all the way to Sheep’s Head, and then back east to Bantry on the southern (Dunmanus Bay) side of the peninsula via Kilcrohane, Ahakista and Durrus, or to continue to the Beara Way via Kealkill and Carriganass.

 

The route has recently been extended eastwards from Bantry to Drimoleague - Sheeps Head Way Eastern Routes (see www.drimoleaguewalkway.com website with walks in that area)  which links to the Beara Way at Kealkil ( http://www.bearatourism.com/bearaway.html) and follows on to Gougane Barra offering further walking opportunities in the region.

Whiddy Island is a 6-hour circular walk, accessed by ferry from Bantry Pier. We recommend sturdy walking boots for the Sheep’s Head Way – preferably waterproof/resistant as there may be some wet patches along the way.

Obviously, be prepared for the inevitable changing weather of West Cork; bringing along rain gear, adequate food and water, maps etc. would be prudent. Also, fog can come down quickly along the coast at the end of the peninsula and at the top of the hill along the Bantry Bay side. In such conditions map reading ability and the use of a compass would be required; carrying a whistle is a basic safety measure, we recommend carrying a mobile phone.

In keeping with the special beauty of our peninsula, we have signposted the Sheep’s Head Way differently from that of most other walks. We have used local stone and Irish oak for our ‘walking man’ markers, and again have used Irish oak for our own routed fingerboards. The 17th century Book of Survey and Distribution has described much of this peninsula as “being all rocky and frequented only by eagles and birds - never to be inhabited by reason of the rough incommodities.” Sounds like the perfect walking terrain to us!
 


 

DO’S AND DON’TS


While we are reluctant to fill these pages with Don’ts and Cannots, some things need to be said:

• No dogs are allowed on the Sheep’s Head Way at any time or place!
• Please respect our farmers’ right to make a living. Leave fences, grass, herds etc. unmolested and the Walk as you found it.
• Where a farmer has been kind enough to allow access across a grassfield, please keep to the edges of it.
• There are times when the Walk leads you close to private houses – please respect people’s privacy.
• There are also times when the Walk goes near cliff edges; while there are warning signs at such places, please be very careful, as there are other cliffs if you stray off the signposted Way.
• Please guard against the risk of fires on Coillte lands and any wooded area. The same precaution applies to the hills.
• During gales/bad weather or for the inexperienced walker at any time, we suggest an alternative route using county council roads from the Crimea Cross to the Cove. This is on the north and western side of the peninsula, and is duly noted on the map.
• We strongly advise that walkers do not attempt the more remote parts of the Walk on their own.
(Care should be exercised at all times to avoid accidents as neither the Sheep’s Head Way Ltd., local committees, landowners, nor any other people or agencies mentioned in the acknowledgments, can be held responsible for any accidents or injuries which might occur due to usage of the Sheep’s Head Way).

The Sheeps Head Way is closed for one day only, on the 31st January each year, unless the expressed wishes of the landowner states otherwise.

No vehicle (pedaled/power) allowed on the walks.


Please be aware of unguarded cliffs, bogs and weather conditions.  Children must be accompanied with an adult.  YOUR SAFETY IS YOUR CONCERN. 

Always carry a mobile phone. 

Wear sturdy boots with ankle support. 

Notify somebody as to when you should be expected to come down from the hills.  Mountains are not suitable for unexperienced walkers in bad weather or poor visibility conditions. 

In case of EMERGENCY phone 999 or 112.  To identify your location quote the number of your nearest waymarker post/pole, GPS location or grid reference.

 

 

USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS


In case of emergency:
Bantry Garda Station: [027] 50045
Bantry Hospital: [027] 50133
Goleen Coast & Cliff Rescue: [028] 35318
Or dial 999 0r 112 and ask for the appropriate emegency service.

TOURISM
INFORMATION OFFICE


Cork/Kerry Tourism Information
Office, Skibbereen:
[028] 21766 (all year)
Tourism Information Office,
Bantry:
[027] 50229 (during the season)

TRANSPORTATION

Bus Eireann, for timetables:
[021] 508188
(Daily bus service from Cork to
Bantry and on Saturdays from
Bantry to Durrus, Ahakista,
Kilcrohane.)
Iarnród Eireann (rail), enquiries:
[021] 506766
Bantry Rural Transport:
Please check locally for timetables
[027] 52727
Hackneys:
There are numerous hackneys
available - please ask locally.
Cork has an international airport
and a ferryport at Ringaskiddy
which connects with Swansea in
Wales, and St. Malo, Roscoff and
Le Havre in France