Woods and forests near Westport
In prehistoric times, woodland covered much of Ireland. Early clearance occurred as farming began but accelerated in the 16th century, as demand increased for timber for building and industry. In recent times interest has increased in restoring and enhancing the remaining native woodlands, and Coillte, the State forestry company, has opened up some of its forestry to recreation.
Brackloon Wood, only 6km from Westport, is one of the largest surviving remnants of the native woodland landscape and is currently under restoration and study. It has 150-200 year old oaks, as well as other native tree species – all available for viewing on a gentle 4km signposted walking trail.
Tawnyard Wood, in a valley in the Sheeffry Hills, is a beautiful lodgepole pine forest beside Tawnyard Lough, managed for recreation and forestry by Coillte. A signposted walking trail crosses the Owenduff River, one of the premier fishing rivers in the region.
Letterkeen Woods is a conifer forest, one of the largest blocks in the country, nestled against the slopes of the Nephin Beg range, north of Clew Bay. It features three loop walks with magnificent views of the bay and the mountains, a short way outside Newport.
More information on woodlands near Westport with walking trails
Woods in Mayo on the map
Pic: Oliver Dixon/Creative Commons