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Linear Walks

Linear Walks

Newcastle Woods

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Ballymahon
Longford
Republic of Ireland

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The semi-mature, mixed woodland at Newcastle Woods extends to both sides of the River Inny. The forest is unique in that it has a diverse range of tree species of different age structures that includes oak, ash, beech, pine, and Norway and sitka spruce, with lesser quantities of birch, willow, hazel, alder, cherry, and holly. This mix of species and associated canopy layers, combined with the network of meandering forest roads and pathways, creates an ideal walking experience.

Newcastle Wood was once part of Newcastle Demesne, an estate of some 11,000 ha run by the King-Harman family in the 1800s. Nearby Newcastle House was where the King-Harmans lived and there are many features and place names in the woodland which refer back to that time.

Coillte, in association with Newcastle Walkways Development Group, has been developing and enhancing the trails since 2001. There are 28km of walkway throughout the forest, most of which comprises gently undulating forest roads and trails, allowing for easy progress through the changing forest.

Spot birds like swans, mallard, teel, wigeon, kingfisher, skylarks, and many others as you wander, along with the odd mink. Fallow deer can also frequently be seen flitting away through the trees.

Descriptions
History

The Harman family appears to have been granted land in the Carlow area in the early 1600s. Nicholas Harman married Frances Sheppard of Newcastle in the mid-1700s and the Harman name came to this area. Their son, Lawrence Harman, married Lady Jane King in 1776 and their descendants carried the double barrelled name King-Harman. The King-Harmans were generally regarded as good landlords by the local populace. They employed many local people in all sorts of trades. The last of the King-Harmans died in 1949. King-Harman sold lands to the Forestry Department in 1934 and over the following two years it was planted with a mixture of coniferous and broadleaf trees. The entrance to the larger block of forestry is known locally as Jack’s Gate, because Jack Clearly lived in the gate lodge across the road and was known to be very strict on providing access to the estate. The gate was opened at 7:45am each morning and locked at 6pm in the evening, the exception being on Saturday, when there was a special dispensation to facilitate local shopping and rambling. The bridge pictured here was an iron footbridge and facilitated the transport of goods across the River Inny at Newcastle House. It was dismantled in 1963 by the Board of Works to facilitate drainage works, although the foundation structure is still intact on both banks, as is the location of a boathouse just upstream. The River Inny is a main tributary of the Shannon. It is named after the mythological Princess Eithne, who drowned and was cremated downstream at the rapids at Tenelick. Roach and pike can be found in some of the slower glides throughout the year, whilst trout and perch are also sought after. Other indigenous species include eel, gudgeon, crawfish, minnow, and hybrids. There is abundant wildlife along the Inny, which can be attributed to the fact that it is one of the cleanest rivers in Ireland. An ecological feature of note is the floating vegetation of ranunculas (floating water crows foot), while there is an unusual abundance of wild clematis, or travellers joy, growing along the Inny spoil banks. The Inny was dredged as part of a drainage scheme in 1963 to alleviate flooding and the spoil banks date to that work. The Inny below Newcastle Bridge has plentiful rapids and canoeing is popular. The Inny Kayak Club was set up in 1993.

Fauna

Many species of bird, along with mink and fallow deer

Things To Do Nearby




Green shoots
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