Traveling to Laragh in Co Wicklow, to a beautiful mountain side location owned by The Native Woodland Trust (NWT) some of the Tree Services Ireland team got involved with one of their many native tree planting days happening over the coming months.
The Native Woodland Trust was established to protect some of Ireland’s last remaining ancient woodlands, while also planting and re establishing new native woodlands on sites around the country. Registered as an Irish charity, much of their tree planting events take place in six nature reserves and are carried out with the continued assistance and dedication of volunteers. If you want to help out at one of these extremely worthwhile and educational tree planting days visit The Native Woodland Trust website, www.nativewoodlandtrust.ie or on Facebook at /nativewoodlandtrust.
What is an Ancient Woodland?
Ancient woodland is defined as native woodland that has been wooded since 1660, before the first establishment of planted woodlands in Ireland.
On that fresh November morning we spent a few hours learning about the great work the NWT carry out and along with a mixture of tree planting veterans, students and families we set about planting close to 200 trees. The focus of this planting was native Sessile Oak ‘Quercus petraea‘ one of our two native oak species indigenous to Ireland (the other native being Common Oak, ‘Quercus robur’). All the little oaks trees were grown by the NWT from seed collected at ancient woodland sites throughout the country, meaning that these trees are descendant from oak that were among some of the first oak trees to colonize our island after the last ice age . We planted the oak in open spots among heather and gorse that at the moment dominate this open rocky site, however, as this woodland begins to mature the landscape will change to encourage a variety of other native flora to this area. These oak join other native species like rowan and scots pine to provide a mix woodland approach at the Laragh site. The incredible feeling achieved by planting these trees, in such a beautiful place with other Irish people who care about our natural heritage was completely worth the trip from Kilkenny. One day this patch of land will become habitat for all sorts of native flora and fauna and the rich history of the ancient Irish oak will continue for other generations to enjoy and behold.