Climate

Coillte finally clearing fallen trees at Lough Hyne

February 13th, 2024 9:00 PM

By Jackie Keogh

An aerial photograph shows just how many trees fell following Storm Ophelia on October 9th 2017.

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COILLTE has announced it is to remove fallen trees from the woodland pathways at Lough Hyne near Skibbereen.

Fine Gael local election candidate Brendan McCarthy described the decision to clear the routes, which lead to the summit of Knockomagh Woods, as ‘long overdue’.

The damage occurred on October 9th 2017 when Storm Ophelia – which was regarded as the worst storm to affect Ireland in 50 years – battered the side of the mountain.

On that occasion, a particularly severe wind hit the side of the mountain, overlooking the lake, and most of the conifers snapped in half.

As a result, this left both the southern and northern walking trails looking like they were strewn with giant matchsticks. Although the name means ‘crooked hill,’ Knockomagh – at 197m – is in fact a mountain.

Knockomagh, combined with the Lough Hyne Marine Reserve – which is a saltwater lake fed from the Atlantic Ocean – has long been a popular destination for people who enjoy walking, all kinds of water pursuits, or simply being in nature.

‘Access to some of these walks – which many consider to be the most beautiful in all of West Cork – has been restricted for far too long,’ said Brendan.

The primary school principal, who will be seeking election in the Skibbereen Electoral Area, said the closure of some of the pathways for health and safety reasons was a cause of concern for visitors and locals alike. ‘

Thankfully, these damaged trees are to be removed under licence from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine along the pathway,’ he said.

Brendan said it is his understanding that the National Parks and Wildlife Service will upgrade access along these routes once the fallen trees have been removed.

‘As a nature reserve, Lough Hyne is a place of outstanding beauty and we are lucky to have it here on our doorstep in Skibbereen,’ he said. ‘It’s good to know that improved access will allow more people to make it to the top and take in the spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding countryside.’

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