DUNMORE East’s new NeighbourWood Scheme has been officially opened by the Mayor of Waterford City & County.
At a special event in Dunmore East last Friday, Mayor Adam Wyse opened the scheme, which was funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the Forest Programme 2014 – 2020.
The opening of the much anticipated scheme provides a huge boost to the local communities and the wider region and is free of charge to all.
The scheme is focused on releasing the recreational and wider social benefits that woodland and forests can provide.
Speaking at the opening, Mayor Wyse: “NeighbourWoods are an invaluable community resource and part of the local fabric of life and sense of place. They provide individuals, families and friends time-out and contact with the natural world, promote public health, well-being and a better quality of life, and create a resource for people young and old to learn about nature and the environment. I hope that the people of Dunmore East and further afield throughout the entire City and County of Waterford will enjoy this amenity which has been provided for by a wonderful group of individuals.”
The Dunmore Woods, which were first planted at the end of the 18th century as part of the Curraghmore Estate, were handed over to the people of the Dunmore East area in trust by the 7th Marquis of Waterford for recreational use in 1924.
Following severe storm damage to the woods in 2014 it was decided that the new NeighbourWood Scheme was what was needed to rejuvenate the woodland.
Speaking at the launch Mary Torrie, Treasurer of the Dunmore Woodland Trust said: “We contacted Forestry Services Limited for advice and guidance and an application was submitted to the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine which was successful. Work commenced in February 2016 and thanks to professional help and guidance from Tommy Enright, Forestry Services Limited, we now have a NeighbourWood scheme that the Marquis of Waterford would be proud of.”
Also speaking at the event, Tommy Enright on behalf of Forestry Services Limited said: “This project provided a unique challenge and opportunity to provide a lasting amenity to the community and wider region. It involved every aspect of forestry from planting to harvesting, safe and accessible walkways through the woodland with access points using timber fencing and informative signage. The scheme has given a new lease of life to the Dunmore East Woods for generations to come and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”
In a statement, Mr Andrew Doyle TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, congratulated the local Dunmore East Woods and Park Trust.
He praised the important role forestry plays in providing recreational and amenity benefits to local communities.
Lord Waterford Tyrone Beresford, 9th Marquis of Waterford, was present at the opening of the woods, as were Rev. Fr. Brian Power PP and Dean Maria Jansson who provided a blessing.
Also in attendance were Department and Forest Services Officials, Trustees of the Dunmore Woodland Trust, as well as representatives of the local community – local groups, clubs, organisations, schools, hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions.
NeighbourWoods are an “invaluable resource”
Local woodlands provide opportunities for communities to enjoy the natural outdoors, gain regular exercise, offer people “time-out” and familiarisation with the changing seasons. This in turn promotes health, wellbeing, a better quality of life and provide a place for family and friends to come together and relax.
Woodlands also have many intrinsic environmental benefits including:
1. Landscape and wildlife.
2. Water quality.
3. Climate change issues.
Such facilities are normally available free of charge to the public. A recent study concluded that there are C. 18 million visits to Irish woodlands each year. The total economic activity generated by domestic forest users is estimated at €268 million per annum.
Therefore, there are social, environmental and economic benefits arising from woodlands. The potential to further develop these benefits led to the introduction of the new NeighbourWood Scheme by the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in June 2015.
The NeighbourWood Scheme is focused on realising the recreational and wider social benefits woodlands and forests can provide.
Funding is available under the scheme in three separate elements:
1. NeighbourWood Establishment: Funds the establishment of new neighbourwood on open greenfield sites.
2. NeighbourWood Enhancement: Funds the silvicultural enhancement of existing woodland already used as a neighbourwood, or proposed for development as a neighbourwood.
3. NeighbourWood Facilities: Funds the installation and upgrade of appropriate recreational facilities.
The scheme is funded by the Irish Government under the Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020. This scheme is intended to facilitate the increasing appetite by both local communities and the larger tourism trade, to experience a higher quality of forest recreation experience.
NeighbourWoods are an invaluable community resource and will deliver a vibrant legacy to be used and enjoyed by current and future generations.
Paddy Bruton is Managing Director of Forestry Services Ltd. For further information see www.forestryservices.ie or phone 056 7702242. Agribusiness award winners 2015.
‘A NeighbourWood to be proud of’
Mary Torrie (Chairperson of the Woodland Trust)
The Dunmore East Woods were first planted at the end of the 18th century when the land was part of the Curraghmore Estate. In 1924, the 7th Marquis of Waterford placed the woodland and the park in a trust for the recreational use of the local people.
Local urban development has put pressure on this mature woodland. Storm Darwin in Spring of 2014 left the woods devastated. Forestry Services Ltd. were contacted for advice. The conclusion was that the Neighbourwood Scheme was what was needed to rejuvenate the woodland. An application was submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. To everyone’s delight, the application was successful.
The work started in February 2016. Difficult decisions had to be made by the trustees during the works, advice from Tommy Enright of Forestry Services Ltd was crucial. The end result is clear, a NeighbourWood that the Marquis of Waterford would be proud of.
Forestry opportunities for local farmers
Farming in Waterford is currently experiencing a major shift in production from beef to dairy. This is a result of the removal of quotas for dairy production, the differential in profitability between beef production systems and dairying & the recent taxation provisions for long term leasing of land.
However, the possibility for forestry to complement existing farming activities on the more marginal sections of farms, thus increasing overall household income is an option all land owners should consider.
Land that is marginal for farming is generally ideal for forestry. Low lying wet soil types, with a grass & rush type vegetation is of reduced value to intensive livestock & dairy production.
A farm level decision to consider forestry for such areas usually takes the following factors into account;
1. Planted land remains eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme.
2. Afforestation grants cover the full cost of establishing and maintaining plantations for the first 4 years. The crop is normally in “free growth” at this stage.
3. Forest premiums are payable to the landowner for 15 years. Such premiums are income tax-free. The rates and duration of premium payments are detailed in table 1.0.
4. There is currently a deficit of timber in Ireland, which is resulting in the importation of C. 500,000 tonnes of timber annually.
5. The projected supply/demand deficit of timber in Ireland by 2020 is almost 1.6 million tonnes per annum, with demand far outstripping supply.
6. Forestry income is not included in the high earners income tax restriction. This means all timber sales are income tax free.
7. Timber is a commodity that can be “warehoused” indefinitely by simply not harvesting. This permits the timing of harvests to market conditions.
Forestry removes Carbon emissions from the atmosphere. The key to mitigating Irelands agricultural emissions lie both in increased on farm efficiency and forestry expansion to sequester emissions from the air.
Many farmers that have planted marginal land comment on the effect the trees have on drying out the adjacent unplanted land. This consequential benefit of planting on the remaining farm is immediate with shelter for livestock also of benefit as the forest matures.
Solid advice for every farmer is to fully utilise every acre on the farm, farm land that should be farmed and consider forestry on marginal land.
Completing the Project
Tommy Enright (Forestry Services Ltd.)
This project provided a unique challenge and the potential to deliver a lasting amenity to my local community. It involved every aspect of forestry from planting to harvesting.
Some of the works undertaken are as follows:
1 Develop the woodland plan and application to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
2 Work planning including Health & Safety considerations.
3 Dangerous individual tree felling & removal.
4 Prepare open areas and the woodland understory for replanting.
5 Supply suitable planting stock and complete planting.
6 Provide safe and accessible walkways through the woodland creating a loop walk connecting all surrounding neighbourhoods.
7 Provide access points using timber fencing and informative signage.
As the project was progressing we were receiving very positive feedback from locals and holiday makers, they were seen their woodland been transformed to an inviting parkland for walking and socialising.
The NeighbourWood scheme funding has given a new lease of life to the Dunmore East Woods for generations to come. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.