Greenways are communication routes reserved exclusively for non-motorised journeys, developed in an integrated manner which enhances both the environment and quality of life of the surrounding area. These routes should meet satisfactory standards of width, gradient, and surface condition to ensure that they are both user-friendly and low -risk for users of all abilities. In this respect, canal towpaths and disused railway lines are a highly suitable resource for the development of greenways.” Lille Declaration, 12 September 2000


They provide a series of common characteristics:Newport Mulranny Greenway. Pic: Michael Mc Laughlin

  • Ease of passage: their slopes, either low or zero gradient, allow their use by all types of users, including mobility impaired people.
  • Safety, due to their separation from roads, and to appropriate safeguards at the intersections.
  • Continuity with suitable solutions for any difficulties and alternative routes.
  • Respect for the environment along itineraries and encouraging its respect by the users.

Greenways provide facilities based on the infrastructures and fixtures of the old pathways and tracks, such as disused railway stations and lock keepers’ houses. These facilities can take several shapes: general accommodation, museums, bicycle rentals, hostels… They serve local users as well as tourists.

The greenways should have information available such as maps and brochures, on the route itself and on access to nearby sites of interest is supplied.

Greenways...Home 3

  • Improve communications and non-motorised itineraries in Europe: hundreds of kilometers running through European countries are available for pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians and mobility impaired people.
  • Promote healthier and more balanced ways of life and transport reducing the congestion and the pollution of cities.
  • Promote rural development, active tourism and local employment.
  • Encourage a more human and closer relationship among citizens.

Bring Europeans closer to both their natural and cultural environment.

The common definition for greenways was stablished in the Lille Declaration, in September 2000; in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Lille Declaration, it was launched the Madrid’s Declaration for a European Greenways’ policy,  resulting of the conference organized in this city, updating EGWA’s mission statement.