Mallow is going to have a new “wooden heart”, as a 10 hectare (25 acres) amenity woodland springs up beside Mallow Castle and along the Blackwater River. This project came about through the work of Cork County Council and Mallow Development Partnership (MDP), and with the generous support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).
There are 3 parts to the NeighbourWood project-
To rejuvenate the existing 1.5 ha of broad-leaf woodland beside the old lime kiln
To plant a new, mainly oak, woodland in the remainder
To upgrade open areas and to enhance and install new information and recreational facilities such as signage and seating in the improved amenity area from Mallow Bridge to Lovers’ Leap.
The NeighbourWood project is less about ‘gortex and hiking boot’ forest recreation and more about runners, umbrellas, prams, baby car seats, dog leads (& dog poo bags!), walking sticks, etc. The area beside the Blackwater river is already being used by people of all ages and abilities on a regular basis, for strolling, family visits and picnics, walking-the-dog, ‘power-walking’, jogging, and a host of other outdoor activities.
The NeighbourWood project will benefit the whole community of Mallow and visitors alike and will reinforce a ‘sense of place’ by linking the town to the river, becoming part of the fabric of local life. It will provide individuals, families and friends with a place for time-out and to connect with the natural world, promote public health, well-being and a better quality of life, and create a resource for people young and old to learn about nature and the environment.
One of the principal aims is to engage the local schools with the project, to build social capital and to enlist support for the project as an outdoor teaching resource. A number of schools have agreed to their participation in the initial planting of part of the new woodland and to the use of the NeighbourWood as part of their environmental & social science studies. The majority of the planting will be organised and carried out by the Greenbelt forestry company.
The enhanced woodland area is a ‘broad brush’ tool for sustainable planning and development, particularly in the urban and urban fringe areas of Mallow. It will be used strategically to reinforce existing greenbelts and emerging greenways, to provide buffers and links between residential and the town centre areas and to protect the urban watercourse and the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designation of the Blackwater River.
Cork County Council is the lead partner for this scheme. Currently, the council are developing the grounds around Mallow Castle and constructed a section of new river walk in 2015 and are continuing this work with a new path through the town park along with a path connecting Mallow Castle with the river walk in 2017. Over the next few years all these links will come together to create an extensive public amenity in the heart of Mallow town.
Mallow Development Partnership is a voluntary organisation which is jointly sponsored by Cork County Council and local businesses in the Mallow area with representation from both community and business represented by Mallow Chamber of Commerce. Other agencies represented are Avondhu Blackwater Partnership, Teagasc, Mallow Tidy Town and many more..
Photo Gallery: http://www.mallow.ie/neighbourwoodproject