29 Sept 2022

‘It looks like Armageddon’: Concern at tree clearance at Ards Forest Park

There is concern and anger at a large tee felling at the popular Ards Forest Park in recent weeks

‘It looks like Armageddon’: Concern at tree clearance at Ards Forest Park

Part of the scene at Ards Forest Park.

Concern has been raised at a huge tree felling exercise at Ards Forest Park in recent weeks.

A large volume of trees were cleared in the area of Cashelmore within the 1200 acre park.

The park is operated by Coillte and there are suggestions that the move may have been a sustainable one with the trees possibly having been grown purposely for wood.

“It looks like Armageddon,” Kristina Ferry, a regular visitor to Ards, told Donegal Live.

“Ards is very important for getting out in nature.

“There aren’t many woodlands in Donegal we can access.”

Ms Ferry told how she noticed the trees being numbered last year.

“Some of the conifers were not growing well but this is a complete eradication,” she said.

“I naively thought this was just a selective job but not this total obliteration. Everything has gone. It has been completely savaged.”

Ards Forest Park includes sandy beaches, a rocky shoreline and a diversity of habitats.

The popular park houses a vast array of maturing trees and has a diverse variety of wildlife.

Ms Ferry said: “I have spent my life in forests and this doesn’t look innovative or carefully managed.

“I took many friends there for some mushroom foraging, mainly educating about them and their importance to the forest, this particular place supported a large variety of mushrooms that you don't get in every forest.

“Wee don't have a lot of mature woodlands in Donegal where a different variety of trees are found, it simply cannot be replaced, it takes so long for regrowth.

“Apart from that Fáilte Ireland had great plans for Ards before Covid anyway. That included sustainable tourism with minimum impact on the environment. Who wants to look at clear fellings?”

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