By Dan Walsh
The committee of Courtown Community Council (CCC) are requesting Wexford County Council to delay the sale of Courtown Woods due to concerns regarding future protection and development and are requesting a meeting with the proposed new owners, Wexford County Council and the liquidators to create a management plan.
The committee are agreeable for the sale of the Leisure Centre to go ahead separately as the wider community are keen to have the pool reopened.
The committee, on behalf of the wider community, believes that the Section 38 agreement only covers public access to the woods and does not provide enough protection from further development in the woods. “It is essential the details are clarified with all stakeholders now before the former community owned woodland transfers into private ownership,” they said in a statement on social media.
CCC welcomes new business and are keen to see the Adventure & Leisure Centre open where it is sympathetic with the communities needs and the townscape, however, the community has concerns with the lack of transparency and community engagement throughout the sale process.”
A significant area of Courtown Woods is designated as a proposed Natural Heritage Area. These woods are a valued amenity for locals and visitors and provide a unique opportunity for the public to immerse themselves in nature and to connect with biodiversity in these times of crisis.
The community has fought for the protection of these woods for many decades and want no further felling of any trees, except under exceptional circumstances such as tree disease or extreme damage.
CCC is currently collaborating with Wexford County Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Coillte and Wexford Walking Trails to manage all the trail systems in Courtown.
Courtown Woodland Trail is bounded by the Owenavarra River on the north side and the canal on the seaward side to the east and dates to pre-Famine times.
At 25 hectares, the wood was once home to oak and ash trees but having been acquired by the State in the late 1950s, it was planted with commercial timber. The mixed conifers – broadleaf plantings – were large of spruce with some ash although small strands of oak remain together with avenues of chestnut and lime trees.
Courtown has four walkways that takes the visitor or the local through nature in the footsteps of the previous Lords and Ladies of Courtown and their guests as they enjoyed privileged country life.