National Parks and Wildlife Service and local community group open two new walking trails at Knockma Wood
– More recreational facilities for North Galway
– More opportunities for environmental education
The National Park and Wildlife Service (NPWS) – of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht – is delighted to announce the official opening of new trails in the Knockma Wood, in Castlehacket, Caherlistrane, County Galway.
Adding to the existing Green Forest Loop (4km) and the Avenue Loop (2km), an additional 1.3 km of trail ; Finvarra’s Trail (1km) and Queen Maeve Trail (300m) has been added.
Following the transferral of the Woodland to the NPWS in 1988, work began on the construction of a pathway around it in 1996. Over the ensuing years the NPWS worked with Caherlistrane Kilcoona Community Council to provide more accessibility to the public and the numbers of people now visiting the site are well in access of 100,000 per annum.
Caherlistrane Kilcoona Community Council received funding from the Department of Rural and Community Development of €80,000. Work began on the extension early in 2018 and included further car park facilities and other necessary works.
The NPWS continues to ensure that this woodland attracts more tourists and visitors, thereby promoting economic growth within the community.
At the opening ceremony, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the NPWS and the Community Group. The purpose of the MOU is to ensure community involvement in the NPWS property at Knockma Wood and to develop recreational, educational and ecological co-operations on the basis of equality and reciprocity and to promote sustainable partnerships between the NPWS and Caherlistrane Kilcoona Community Council.
Speaking at the opening Minister Seán Canney TD said:
“The original trail and this new extension will prove important to the local community and surrounding Tuam area, by acting as an additional recreational amenity to bring direct benefits to visitors for their health and wellbeing. This project will ensure that Tuam and North Galway are included as a destination of choice under Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. It will enable the National Parks and Wildlife Service to deliver environmental education to the public and I am delighted to be officially opening it today”