Take a wonderful woodland walk
Consider a walk in a broadleaf woodland this weekend to enjoy the last of the crisp leaves underfoot.
While broadleaf or mixed woodlands make up less than one-quarter of all Irish forests, oak, beech, chestnut, sycamore and lime trees are well-represented in urban and national parks.
The key value of deciduous trees is that their leaf and branch structure allows light through so an under-storey of shrubs and plants can provide habitats for small animals, insects and birds.
Native Irish woodlands also provide a much greater range of ecosystem services (such as preventing floods and soil erosion) than coniferous plantations.
All this makes visiting them more interesting. Massey’s wood in Rathfarnham, Dublin; Avondale Park and Powerscourt Estate in Co Wicklow; Belvedere Gardens in Co Westmeath; Charleville Estate in Co Offaly; and the JFK Arboretum near New Ross, Co
Wexford are excellent places to enjoy autumnal colours and textures. See coillte.ie for list of forest parks open to the public
Autumn pleasure: the crisp feel of leaves underfoot. PHOTOGRAPH: BRYAN O’BRIEN