West Cork Garden Trail
Visiting formal gardens is a popular activity for foreign tourists to Ireland, and West Cork has plenty to offer the botanically curious. The West Cork Garden Trail has been set up to showcase the many wonderful gardens in the county, most of which can be reached by a short drive from Ballynoe House. Dedicated guided tours are also popular. Due to the mild maritime climate, early Spring visits are worthwhile.
The Ballynoe House Woodland Trail
Ahead of opening the self-catering lets at Ballynoe House, a woodland trail has been in preparation as an additional amenity for guests. A 400m path winds its way amongst several thousand trees, consisting of more than twenty species with something to show for any part of the year, from Spring primroses and bulbs, through blossom time to Winter-flowering mahonia. The trail is generally narrow so as to avoid the removal any trees, which also preserves the ambience.
A number of benches have been provided in strategic locations. The general planting scheme is one of a hawthorn boundary hedge with mixed woodland comprised of alder, ash, elder, hazel, field maple, ancient fuchsia trees, oak, sycamore and varieties of willow, with some conifers and the odd single specimen tree (which are part of a botanical treasure hunt). The traditional mix has been added to with garden shrubs to enhance insect life (such as buddleia) and to provide the odd splash of colour throughout the year. Some areas of the original planting are undergoing rehabilitation after being reclaimed from bramble thickets.
The woodland area is kept as natural as possible for the benefit of wildlife. Quiet explorers will enjoy hearing and seeing all types of wildlife including many birds and woodland butterflies.
Mark Grace, “Head Gardener”, Ballynoe House