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Forest recreation walks - don't miss out


The Teagasc and DAFM series of nationwide walks on Forest recreation continue up to May 20. Each walk is in the evening and will commence at 7pm. You can register for one of the four remaining walks in Laois, Roscommon, Sligo and Tipperary and get further details of each walk here

Landowners establish forests for many different reasons. For some, one of these objectives includes forest recreation. The use of forests for regular exercising or walking was never as obvious or as necessary as seen during the recent – COVID 19 pandemic.

Broadleaf species can enhance a woodland

Forestry in Ireland

Forest cover is Ireland is now at its highest level in 350 years - 770,000 ha or 11% of the total land area (National Forest Inventory 2017). With an increasing population, forests provide great outdoor spaces for many to recreate locally / nationally in an environmentally free space. Forests are affectionately, referred to as the lungs of the earth due to their ability to produce oxygen.  “Research has shown that engagement with nature through outdoor activities can have a significant positive impact on people’s mental health and well-being”.

Forests are dynamic and diverse in nature. Their ability to change through the seasons and annually as the trees mature adds to their mystic, beauty and attraction.

More visits to Irish forestry

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. Fifty seven percent said they visited woodlands more since the Covid pandemic began when compared to 2019. In 1999, the estimation for visits to Irish forests was nearly 9 million visits per year but that figure has now risen to about 30 million, demonstrating the importance of our forests as valuable places for healthy recreation.

Some additional paths and seating can augment the recreational value of a forest

The private forestry estate

The private forestry estate, which accounts for approximately 49.2% of the total forest area with over 23,000 private owners. For the private forest estate, the decision to allow public access rests with the forest owner, and is provided on a goodwill basis. Forests should not be entered for recreational purposes unless there is explicit permission to do so.

There are many types of recreational uses, many of which can be enjoyed by the public. Forest design, roads, additional paths and signage can greatly the enhance the recreational element of any woodland. Some private forest owners have developed or plan to progress the recreational element of their forest.

Paths with wide verges – provide nice clear views

Forest Recreation walk details

Teagasc and DAFM will highlight some of these forest owners with this series of 12 nationwide walks between May 9 and May 20.  All walks will commence at 7pm. Walking in the cool of the evening will also enrich the ambiance of each of these walks.

All are welcome to attend, to keep everyone safe; remember you need to register in advance for the last four walks (Click on Register button or QR code below) as parking maybe limited on some of the locations.  Upon registration, you will receive an email with meeting point details including an Eircode.

Please wear suitable clothing and footwear.

Contact Liam Kelly for further information on  0879090495

See www.teagasc.ie/forests4recreation for more details.

The Teagasc Forestry Department issues an article on a Forestry topic every Friday here on Teagasc Daily  Subscribe to: Forestry e-News Keep up-to-date with the Teagasc Forestry Department here or follow them on Social Media here