Balla Town Park and Western Forestry Co-op and were delighted to welcome An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Mr Andrew Doyle TD to the official opening of the Balla Town Park NeighbourWood community woodland.
Balla Town Park and Western Forestry Co-op started working on the initial application for the NeighbourWood project in spring 2015. The area of woodland for the project is 35 acres of old estate woodland that had developed in to semi natural woodland that was severely encroached by laurel, a non native invasive species that had completely choked areas of the woodland preventing any natural regeneration from occurring and making parts of the woodland completely inaccessible. The main task was to remove this laurel and it is now completely different woodland. As new areas of the wood were being opened up, beautiful old Oak trees were being released that heretofore couldn’t be accessed, giving the woodland a new lease of life. This is important when you remember that the in early times the village of Balla was known as Ros Dairbhreach meaning “the height of the Oak wood”, so it’s great to see these beautiful tall majestic Oak trees in these woods, especially as Oak is our national tree.
Work commenced in February 2016 and although the winter weather played havoc at times the project was completed by August 2016. Works that were completed as part of the project include:
• Planting of 3000 new trees
• Respacing in areas where the trees were growing very densely
• Stock fencing part of the woodland to protect against stock trespass
• New 4 bay Car park
• New Loop path and upgrade to existing paths
• Rowan woodland grove was created
• Picnic benches and seats along the paths
• Information signs and map
• Woodland habitat signs on the native woodland type and birds and mammals
• Bat boxes and Owl boxes
• Tree trail of 15 different trees in the woodland
• Fairy village
For anyone who has been over to the woodland it is a treasure for the town of Balla both for the present and future generations. Balla Town Park should be complimented on the management of their woods, in particular Brendan Burke who very dedicated to the woodlands.
The NeighbourWood Scheme which is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is an excellent example of a Government funded project that brings communities and woodlands together by helping to create woodland amenities for local people to use and enjoy and I would like to thank the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for continuing to support this scheme which is invaluable for ensuring community woodlands survive and thrive and remain a focal point in any community, and it was a pleasure for Western Forestry Co-op to be involved with such a great project and a dedicated and passionate community organisation as Balla Town Parks.