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Walks within 5km of Laois Towns

cullahill walks

It’s January and the country is back in lockdown. This means there is a 5km radius from your home  restriction on where you can exercise.  In Laois we are lucky to have so many walks across towns, woodlands, mountains and bogs.  Many are near our towns and villages. For now we need to stay close to home and play our part in suppressing the virus.  Please stay within 5km of your homes radius, luckily we have lost of looped walks that make this possible.  To make it easier to do this we’ve listed the mapped routes or popular walks within 5km of Laois Towns and Villages.


Portlaoise as the largest town in Laois has Togher Woods on the outskirts of the Town off the Abbeyleix road roundabout.    It has a 5km loop and is all flat and perfect for children.

Portlaoise also has 3 Sli Na Slainte routes marked throughout the town. They vary between 3-5km. Why not set yourself a challenge to do all 3.  You can find the routes here.


Just 2km from the town is Derryounce Lake and Walkways.   There are 3 marked looped walks.  The terrain is mainly flat so it’s suitable for most.  The loops range from 3km to 14km so there is something for everyone.  Find out more: 

Carrick Wood is a 32heacture wood just outside the town.  It offers a short woodland trail and is an ideal picnic stop.  (it will probably be a very quick stop in January! ).   You can find details here

For an urban route why not complete the Sli Na Slainte routes around the town. There are 2 routes, one 2.5km and one 3.5km that can be done on their own or joined up to make a longer walk.  Find the route here.


Just outside the town is Garryinch Woods.  The wood has 2 looped walks all these trails are waymarked The Garryhinch Loop (3.2kms, 45mins, easy) and The Barrow Walk (3.8kms, 45mins, easy).  You can find our more here

Within the town there is a 4.6km Sli Na Slainte route marked. This is an easy route and taking you all around the town.   You can find the route here


The town of Abbeyleix is blessed to have Abbeyleix Bog within 5km of the town.  Located just on the outskirts of the town, the bog has become a very popular walk with locals.  There are two loops one 4.5km and one 8km.  The terrain is flat but as a lot of the walk is on boardwalk and boggy ground suitable footwear is a must.  Find out more


Durrow boasts the famous 23km leafy loop that passes through both Capponellan Woods and Dunmore Woods near the town.  The full 23km can be completed within 5km of Durrow but there are a number of shorter walks in both woods that offer a more leisurely walk.   Check out the full Leafy Loop here.  It might be a great New Year’s challenge within your 5km you want if you live in Durrow.


The nearby village of Castletown, within 5km of Mountrath is an ideal spot for a riverside walk along the Nore.  Click on this article from the Irish Examiner for some inspiration.

The new Sli na Slainte route around Mountrath town is an easy 3.2km. This is a nice leisurely route that suitable for all levels.  Find out more here


Rathdowney is lucky to have an all weather walking track in the town, by St Fergal’s Secondary School which is a great way to get in the steps during the winter.

Just outside the town and within 5km of people on the Ballacolla side of the town is Granstown Lake.  This is a lovely 2.5km looped walk around the beautiful Grantstown Lake.

The lesser known Coolacurragh Wood Nature Reserve  halfway between Rathdowney and Ballacolla is just within 5km of Rathdowney and is a wet woodland nature reserve.  Suitable footwear is needed.  There is a 1km looped walk through woodland.


Oughaval Wood is located about 1.5 km from Stradbally on the Carlow Road. There are up to 6 km of walks. The 3 looped walks include; The Mass Rock Walk (2kms, 30mins, moderate) The Beech Way Walk (2kms, 30mins, moderate) and The Cobbler’s Castle Walk (6km, 1 ¼ hrs, moderate).  Find out more here


The Esker Walk, a short 1km walk along the esker which is suitable for families with young children. It is located approx. 1 km. north east of Timahoe Village, is approx 13.5ha in area.

For those looking for a more strenuous walk Fossey Mountain offers a number of trails.  The nearby Cullenagh Mountain is also with 5km and worth exploring.  Both will require an OS Map as there are no formal mapped trails.  Could be a good way to pass a day!


Emo is home to Emo Court and Parklands and the people of Emo are spoilt for choice with a number of different walks around the grounds.

There is also a marked Sli na Slainte route around the village that is 4.3km and a very easy route.  Find our more here


The village of Ballinakill has the stunning Heywood Gardens & Estate within its 5km. The Estate includes 50 acres of woodland, lakes and formal gardens.  There are great walks and cycle tracks around the estate and the village so a good place to stretch your legs.


Binnianea Loop is a 10km looped walk offering panoramic views of the countryside. Begining in the village of Cullahit you stroll along old quiet lanes, open hillside and woodland paths.  Find out more here.


The canal at Vicarstown offers a great waterways walk.  While there are 10km of marked trial all the way to Athy, a shorter walk can be done within your 5km.  Find out more here

Slieve Bloom Walks

While some of the most specular walks in Laois are based in the Slieve Blooms they are not accessible to most of us at the moment. The lucky people living in Clonaslee, Rosenallis, Coolrain, Killianure and Camross can enjoy a number of looped walks in woodlands, bog and lakeside. For the rest of us they will still be there later in the year for us to enjoy.  For now it’s all about embracing your local area. Find out more here