A Kilkenny forest was number five in the top ten most-visited Coillte forests in the country during Covid-19.
Jenkinstown Wood has been proving a popular destination for local people looking to get out and about and enjoy nature during the long days of lockdowns. The Dublin Mountains (of which Ticknock Forest accounts for the majority) is the most visited, followed by Rossmore Forest Park in Monaghan and Donadea Forest Park in Kildare.
Overall, visitor numbers to the country’s top 50 forests were 2.2 million from the beginning of March to the end of December 2020. As Coillte has around 6,000 forest properties, the number of visitors across the nation’s forests is a multiple of this. This represents an overall increase of 38% from 1.6 million for the same period in 2019.
Coillte visitor numbers to some of its most popular recreational forests have doubled to tripled since lockdown began last year, depending on location.
"We’re delighted so many people are using their local forests more during this difficult and prolonged Covid lockdown,” said Imelda Hurley, Coillte’s CEO.
“Healthy forests are not only beautiful to look at but provide a much needed physical and mental wellness boost.”
It’s widely agreed fresh air and green outside spaces enhance people’s mood, happiness and overall health.
“This is particularly important right now,” said Ms Hurley. “We’re glad people’s local forests are a healthy and positive outlet for them. We simply ask that Covid-19 restrictions be adhered to when visiting.”
Top ten things you didn’t know about Ireland’s local forests:
There are approximately 6,000 Coillte forest properties nationwide, all of which are open to the public.
There are 260 Coillte managed recreational forests.
Forests clean the air we breathe and convert CO2 into O2. Our forests are the biggest carbon sink in the country, cleaning the equivalent of 70% of car emissions p.a.
They provide homes for a myriad of natural wildlife including deer, red squirrels, badgers, owls and insects to name but a few.
Almost 80% of Coillte’s forests are working forests. They produce the most commonly used wood in modern Irish homes. The wood in the roofs, walls and floors is made from a coniferous tree called Sitka Spruce, a species especially suited to growing in Ireland’s wet and temperate climate.
Many trees can grow twice as fast in Ireland compared with Europe, due to our soil and climate.
Commercial forestry supports around 12,000 jobs in mostly rural areas.
When carbon dioxide (CO2) is converted into Oxygen (O2) the remaining carbon element is stored in the tree. That is why wood/trees are described as a great store for carbon.
Wood is a renewable resource and it is widely agreed that forests are one of the fastest and most eco-friendly ways to help tackle climate change.
All of Coillte’s forests are managed sustainably – to the exacting standard set by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC is an internationally recognised benchmark for certifying high quality sustainable forest management.
To learn more about Coillte, visit www.coillte.ie or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (@coilltenews).
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