Western Forestry Co-op hosted a joint field day with the Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) at the beautiful Enniscoe Estate on ‘Managing woodlands with environmental conservation, amenity & recreational objectives’ on Friday 10th October. In excess of 60+ people turned up for the day and the weather was glorious. The Enniscoe Estate has been in the Kellett family since the 1650’s and the House dates from the 1790’s. Around the house there are pastures and woodlands with lakeside walks, pleasure grounds and a carefully restored Victorian Garden. In 2012 works were carried out in the woodlands through the NeighbourWood Scheme which included upgrading and extending the Looped Walk with new paths and signage as well as clearing rhododendrons. The Enniscoe woodlands won the 2013 RDS/Forest Service Forestry Award for bio-diverse woodlands.
Stops during the day included the Victorian Pleasure Grounds which are a four-acre site beside the main house that were laid out in woodland sometime in the 19th century with gravel paths, box hedges and ornamental trees that was popular with the Victorian ladies for walks. Woodland Improvement was carried out to restore the Old Pleasure grounds by removing invasive species of laurel and rhododendron and replanting with specimen trees such as Monkey puzzle and Spanish Chestnut. Beside these grounds there is a Mausoleum (memorial) to a member of the family who was killed by a fall from his horse in the 1830’s. The estate contains four Champion Trees for County Mayo as listed in “Champion Trees, Tree Council of Ireland” including Mayo’s tallest tree which is a Silver Fir at 31m high.
There are 100 acres of Woodland in the estate of which 50% is native woodland, very important for Woodcock habitats for the bi-annual Woodcock shoot at Enniscoe. It is also interesting to know that in the 1950/60’s Bord Na Mona use to cut Alder poles from this Native Woodland to lay foundations on top of the bog for the bog railway at the Bellacorrick Power Station. Remnants of these Alder stools can still be seen throughout the native woodland.
The afternoon concluded with demonstrations on timber extraction by horse and charcoal making by Wesley Seery (Western Forestry Co-op and Muintir Na Coille).
As well as the beautiful woodlands, the Enniscoe Estate also provides:
- Enniscoe Guesthouse and Holiday Apartments
- Mayo Looped Walk
- Enniscoe Tea Rooms
- Ornamental Walled Gardens
- Organic walled garden and allotments
- North Heritage and Genealogy Centre
- Forge and Workshop space
- Private Boat hire
- Annual North Mayo Vintage Show
- North Mayo Tractor Club HQ
- Coppice Association Residential Woodland Training Course (Charcoal, besom broom making, firewood extraction)
We would like to thank Susan and DJ Kellett for being excellent hosts for the field day and Joe Gowran of Muintir Na Coille for his advice, assistance and dedication to Native Woodland Management at Enniscoe.