Glengarriff Woods, is a beautiful nature reserve near Bantry, on the Kenmare.
Ireland had been very much a woodland island in the past, and this woodland helps you to imagine how it has been in those days.
Or, as Dave, my helper & driver for the day, guaranteed me beforehand, I would get a definite overdose for the senses. And how right he was too.
The road into the woods and onto the car park. This in its own is a wonderful experience of the Woods. Walking there with Dave, I stopped at regular intervals, because I was captivated by a certain tree, Wood Anenome, Lichen and the river. Very sad I spotted no other birds than Long Tail Tits. However, Dave had not parked very far in, because he wanted me to try out the bridge.
At the car park, and at several other places there are clear signposts. Perhaps one day we will see a sign showing a trail which would be open to visitors using wheels also? Who knows.
Until then, the best is to contact Clare Heardman, via the NPWS website, who can tell you more about it.
The little Gate Lodge at the Entrance/Exit. Plus Clare's dog.
Last week I was in the Respite in Bantry, run by Rehabcare, the staff organise an outing with their car to somewhere you would really like to go. You and two others come in to stay between Tuesday evening and Friday morning. Allowing each of us a couple of hours with the car and a member of staff.
Glengarriff was on my wish-list, of course. (among other places!) as I wanted to see how accessible it is.
Dave, who was my 'helper' and driver for the day, was only working till noon and we were late to start already. Apart from this, the wind might have died down but the rain was still in the air.
Yet this was the perfect condition to try out the hard gravel path at the other end of the bridge on the Bantry Lady Lookout. I was alarmed at the idea of a gravel path, when Dave mentioned this, but it is the 'larger sort of gravel, and very much compacted.
Clare Heardman, the manager of the reserve, was curious to know how I would get on, on this bridge and also at the other side.
Once you've gone over the bridge, the trail continues, going up steeper before getting really steep. We had to turn back to town, it was not only very cold with only my long scarf. Also, Dave had to get back to town. He finished working at noon and I would soon need a toilet too.
I will need to return to the Woods one day, so I can check out more of the reserve, and if the new Park Hotel has an accessible toilet. So an update will be posted here as soon as I've been back.
It has been weird in a way, I always go out on my own, onto the road with the camera, and going with someone else, was fun. (So Dave, if you get to read this, you're welcome to show me 'round the other parts, if you're working that week in May. )
The river is properly protected with fences like these.
To some other wheelchair users from Rehabcare in Bantry,(including one or two amateur photographers) the visit to Glengarriff Woods was a disappointment in a way because only half a trail was accessible. I had been here, twenty six years ago, when we were house hunting and viewing a little house in the woods, but I think it was further into the woods themselves, and on the other side of the road. Ten years later, I went on a bus trip with the Irish Wheelchair Association which was a bit of a let-down because I was not able to get outside and inhale that special air and smell which always captivates me.
I had no real expectations at all before I went, knowing that access to the different trails was very limited, so I went with the goal of seeing just how accessible it was, let the little forest girl emerge from inside me. She had been locked away for all these twenty six years, with a brief appearance in 2007 when I was treated to a visit to my childhood's forest in the middle of Holland for my birthday. There, my visit was limited also. So instead of going for a walk, we were invited to come and have a drink in the St. Helena cafe which is a lovely round cafe in the middle of the forest, where we would rest our tired feet for a little while before setting off on the last leg of the walk from our home to that of Nora, who lived 4 km. from us. It had been almost 40 years since my last visit.
Some pictures from the Woods:
The Caha Mountains shelter the reserve and create a lovely backdrop.
Wood Anemones were spread over the floor of the woods and their white merry heads were bobbing up and down in the strong wind.
Wood Sorrel was scattered anywhere, and I think that the little rain-drops give a good size reference?
Everywhere you looked, there were species of Lichen and Mosses greeting you, be-it in trees, on stone rock walls, on wood, on the floor, or any other surface you might think of.
I will contact Paul Whelan of the award winning site on Lichen. Lichen.ie to help me with the ID's. , I have posted more photos of my trip to Glengarriff on Wildlife On Wheels, such as those of the Lichen, and Moss which captivated me and my camera.
I loved this tree.
Fungi too, adheres to anything it can find.
Main Gate Lodge,
Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve,
Tel: + 353 27 63636
Fax: + 353 27 63637
OK, so what about the birds? This is my birding blog, after all!
Well, I have seen only Long Tail Tits, and a few Rooks and Jackdaws, but I was too busy with the Lichen and other interesting lifeforms. Also, it was so cold that you did not want to go and sit still! To be fair I wanted to see (and photograph) as much as I could in the short time we had.
But I did not really come for the birds, I think. I came for the reserve. And I have adored weirth growths like Lichen, Moss and Fungi from a very young age too.
so I'm sorry no birding photos.
I will keep this blog updated with news from Glengarriff, because I am sure that gates/trails will become wider, flatter, or inany other way more accessible.
LEAVE YOUNG BIRDS BE!!
Please, do not hamper a young bird's life by picking it up, and taking it home with you. It is calling its parents to help them in locating it.
After fledgling from the nest, the parent birds will keep feeding it, and look out for it, until it will be able to look after itself.
And the reason you cannot see a parent is because of your own proxomity to the young bird. And while you are ebating if or not you should take the bird home, you keep the parent from giving it well needed nutrition in the form of a meal!
The photos on this blog are all taken by me. If there is any picture you might want to use for any other than personal use, please drop me a line to the email address shown in the sidebar on the right.