Take a won­der­ful wood­land walk

The Irish Times - Weekend Review - - OUTDOORS -

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

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