Very soon, the trees will be showing off their new leaves. This is a lovely time for a walk in the forests and woodlands of county Wicklow. Known as the Garden of Ireland, county Wicklow has also the largest area of woodland (22% of its total surface) in the country and some of the few remaining natural forests can still be found there, among them Clara Vale on the banks of the Avonmore river.
Ireland used to be covered with thick forests but since the 10th century, most of them were cut down. Fortunately, there has been a huge drive in planting trees and now, forested areas represent ten percent of the country. Compared to other European countries, Ireland still holds the second lowest rank in proportional percentage of forests.
Forest and woodlands play many roles. They have an economic value because wood is harvested and sold. They are a natural environment, home to many plants and wild life. They are also important as recreational amenities. As most people live now in urban or semi-urban areas, local woodlands are ideal for getting some exercise or for enjoying nature. Walking among the tress in nature’s peace and quiet is also beneficial to our mental well being.
With the changes brought by the dramatic shifts in the climate, there is a growing awareness of the importance of trees and woodlands. Trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere and through combining it with the sun’s energy, the captured carbon is then converted into trunks, branches and leaves via the process of photosynthesis.
Wishing you a peaceful walk in county Wicklow woodlands. Enjoy the light green of the new leaves and birdsong breaking nature’s silence. A beautiful time of the year, not to be missed after the long winter months.