THE green-fingered people of Clonakilty and West Cork are once again getting their hands dirty by looking after the town’s very own community forest.
Organised by ‘Branch Out’, the event, which is in its fourth year, recently took place at the County Council-owned site above the lake at Gullane.
‘For the past three years we have had fantastic voluntary participation and the results have been fantastic,’ said Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, one of the organisers of the event.
‘Visitors to the site will see the impressive growth of the native Irish species such as oak, birch, alder, hazel and cherry trees from year one and two.
‘It’s amazing how much the area is already beginning to feel like a woodland area. We want to keep this momentum up so the more people that attend on Sunday the better.’
Cllr O’Sullivan pointed out, however, that there was some damage caused to last year’s trees by livestock which had been let loose on the site.
‘We were heartbroken to see the damage cause to last year’s trees but we are far better prepared to deal with the issue this year.
‘A fence has been erected around the site and the Council has assured us they will deal with the loose animals. This year there will also be a concentration on replacing the trees that were damaged,’ added Cllr O’Sullivan.
The 23-acre site has been earmarked to be utilised as a recreation/ amenity area and it will also be incorporated into the Council’s plans for a Greenway trail from Clonakilty to Courtmacsherry. The proposals also include a safe walking path from Clonakilty to the Technology Park, where 800 employees currently work.
‘I am really excited about the long-term plans for this site and I have no doubt that the community woodland project has really highlighted its potential,’ he said.
‘The event, though, is really about creating a legacy for future generations and of course it’s about having fun. The last few years have been thoroughly enjoyable for all, including the kids who love to get their hands dirty.’
‘The event couldn’t have happened without the amazing sponsorship of local nurseries who have supplied the trees again this year.
‘They will all be acknowledged with a specially designed sign on the site,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan.