Go wild this Easter exploring Coillte’s tracks and trails

Posted on: 7th April, 2015

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: West Cork People

This Easter, Coillte are encouraging the public to discover Cork’s wild side, by exploring the many tracks, trails and forest parks available throughout the County, while taking in wild woodland flowers and looking out for wildlife waking up for Spring.

From spring, Ireland’s woodlands come alive and visitors to Coillte forests will be treated to springtime flower displays over the coming weeks.

Daithi de Forge, Recreation Manager at Coillte said, “Whether you’re a gentle rambler, a seasoned hiker, or a mountain biker, you’ll find plenty of outdoor recreation options this spring, and don’t forget picnics, fishing and nature watching. Coillte forests showcase all that is beautiful about spring and no matter where you live in the country you are never far from a variety of wonderful Coillte outdoor amenities.”

 

Farran

Farran Forest Park is one of 12 Coillte Forest Parks that are spread all around the country and offer a wonderful array of facilities including children’s playgrounds, marked walking and cycling trails alongside scenic woodlands. They are ideal places to take the family on a ramble, spot some nature, and get some fresh air into the lungs over the Easter med-term break. The park is located 20km west of Cork city and just north of the N22 towards Macroom.

On the southern shore of Inniscarra lake, Farran Forest Park holds panoramic views of the lake and surrounding countryside. The forest, which is 45 ha. in extent, once formed a mere fragment of the vast Farran estate which was owned by a Captain Clarke. There are two waymarked looped forest trails in the park; the Woodland Loop and the Enclosure Trail.

Other notable features include a wildlife enclosure and a large duck pond. The wildlife enclosure holds a small herd of Red and Fallow deer, which can easily be viewed from the waymarked Enclosure Trail that skirts the boundary fence. Adults and children alike get great enjoyment from being able to observe these beautiful animals.

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Gougane Barra 

Gougane Barra National Forest Park is bordered by three mountain ranges and the wide open River Lee Valley. It is here that St. Finbarr, Patron Saint of Cork, planted his monastery.

The forest park is comprised of 350 acres that were planted by the Irish Forestry Service in 1938. The trees are primarily Lodgepole Pine, Sitka Spruce, and Japanese Larch.

Follow trails to scenic views, across bridges and up hillsides. This park is tucked in a valley that feels like a mini Yosemite Valley. Lush places to picnic, hike, and inhale the fresh air.

 

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Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trail  

Situated in the Ballyhoura Mountains, which cover south Limerick and north Cork, and accessed from a trailhead near Ardpatrick. Co. Limerick.

The largest trail network of its kind in Ireland, providing many options for off-road cycling in the mountains. The trails range from the moderate six kilometre Greenwood loop to the demanding Castlepook loop, over 50 kilometres in length!

The trail system, designed by one of the world leaders in the sport, is an exciting network constructed to give a challenging and rewarding ride.  Each of the loops here presents riders with a combination of narrow singletrack and boardwalk sections and also has sections of forest road climbs over short and long distances.

For more information on local Coillte’s tracks and trails in Cork, including wheelchair and buggy accessible parks, as well as about other forest parks and recreation sites nationwide, log onto www.coillteoutdoors.ie.

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