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Forest Recreation Walks - May 2022

Forests provide valuable spaces for recreation!

Event

Teagasc and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) will run a nationwide series of walks between 9 and 20 May focusing on forest recreation

These walks will celebrate private forests where the owner has developed a recreational element to his or her forest. 

Forest recreation walk details including individual registration links can be found in the table below.

To keep everyone safe, you need to register in advance. Upon registration, you will receive an email with meeting point details including an Eircode. All walks will start at 7pm. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear.

Background

Forests are established for many different purposes such as forest recreation. Forests provide great outdoor spaces for local recreation.

Our forests were never used or needed as much as now during Covid. With forest cover in Ireland amongst the lowest in Europe at 11% and with an increasing population, forests are becoming more and more important as a safe and healthy place for recreation and relaxation. The health benefits – both physical and mental – are well documented. Going for a walk improves physical health, stimulates the brain, boosts wellbeing and helps us to sleep better.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s recent nationwide survey bears this out. The survey found that 58% of people surveyed have visited a forest in the past year with exercise and recreation cited as the key visit driver. 57% said they visited woodlands more since the Covid pandemic began when compared to 2019. It was estimated that there were nearly 9 million visits per year to Irish forests in 1999, but that figure has now risen to about 30 million, demonstrating the importance of our forests as valuable places for healthy recreation.

Both Coillte and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) provide access to the forests, national parks, nature reserves and arboreta under their control. Some local authorities as well as several local communities provide access to wonderful locally managed urban woodlands.

Private forests now make up nearly 50% of the total forest area with over 23,000 owners. The decision to allow access rests with the forest owner, and is provided on a goodwill basis. No private forest should be entered unless there is express permission to do so. Do not trespass and respect other people’s private property.

Please note: all walks start at 7pm. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear.

CountyNearest townDateFurther information incl. registration links (via Eventbrite)
Carlow Rathvilly  Thursday 12 May  Registration closed 
Cavan Belturbet  Monday 9 May  Registration closed
Cork Mallow  Monday 9 May  Registration closed 
Donegal Manorcunningham  Wednesday 11 May  Registration closed 
Kerry Killarney  Wednesday 11 May  Registration closed
Laois Ballyroan  Tuesday 17 May  Laois registration 
Mayo Balla  Thursday 12 May  Registration closed 
Meath Kilmessan  Tuesday 17 May  Fully subscribed - no more availability 
Roscommon     Elphin  Wednesday 18 May     Roscommon registration 
Sligo Tubbercurry  Thursday 19 May  Sligo registration 
Tipperary Killinaule  Friday 20 May  Tipperary registration 
Westmeath Cloughan, Mullingar     Tuesday 10 May  Registration closed 

 Watch this video below in which Ciara, Teagasc's virtual forestry adviser explains some of the many social benefits that our forests provide for us...