EVENTS

Members Reports and Photos

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SATURDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2013

NEWTOWNMOUNTKENNEDY

Mixed Woodland and Upland Boggy PasturE

LEADER: MARY CARSON

Report and Photographs: Pat Lenihan  

Newtownmountkennedy Wood, tucked off the busy N11 and situated on the slopes above the village, was the venue for a morning, autumnal stroll with Mary Carson.

The outing began when our leader, well equipped with maps and brochures, put the site in its historical context. The woodland, with its rich variety of conifer and native and introduced broadleaf trees, was originally part of the Newtownmountkennedy Estate. Strands of Beech and Spanish Chestnut characterise the older planting by the Estate. The coniferous woodland has its origins in commercial planting of Sitka Spruce, Norway Spruce, Japanese Larch, and Monterey Pine by the Forestry Service.  The woodland is now commercially managed by Coillte and  is part of the Newtownmountkennedy Neighbourhood Scheme whose aim is to enhance the conservation value of the site and to provide a recreational resource. There are three well marked trails, one of which is wheelchair friendly.

The wood is an arboreal delight and on our visit, aided by the generous assistance of our leader, we paused frequently to identify an unfamiliar leaf here or an unusual trunk there. Ash, Beech, Lime, Oak, Lime, Spanish Chestnut, Spruce, and Pine form the canopy, whereas Alder and Willow dominate the river bank.

The woodland is also the site of a fine strand of Cherry Trees which were planted by Coillte to assess the performance of different varieties. Cherry is a native species whose wood is high quality and is used in the manufacture of high quality furniture and musical instruments.

Elder, Hawthorn, Holly, Hazel and Gorse provide a typical understorey cover with climbers such as Ivy and Honeysuckle much in evidence. Buddleia and Raspberry, garden escapees, also find refuge in the woodland. For many the highlight of the day was our sight of Leycesteria formosa (Pheasant Berry), a delightful Himalayan exotic which was bedecked with long pointed leaves, creamy-white flowers, and purple berries.

The dense planted areas preclude the growth of an abundant ground flora, although there were small patches of Angelica sylvestris, Geum urbanum, Conopodium majus and Epilobium species some of which were in flower. Fungi were few and far between, but lurking in the shadows were a few snowy white specimens of Lycoperdon perlatum.

In the afternoon, we adjourned a few miles up the road  to Glendarragh to a patch of upland boggy pasture. The Glen enclosed by stone walls, more reminiscent of the West of Ireland, is one of the lesser know Glens of Wicklow. Here our fungal foray was more productive. Specimens were classified by genera and, as time did not allow for further study, collected for more detailed examination later. 

         

          

          

        

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