Gougane Barra Forest Park - A Place to Explore...
Just a short walk from our hotel, tucked at the base of a spectacular horseshoe of mountains is Gougane Barra's Coillte forest park. Opened in 1964, the park covers 142 hectares. With its iconic lodgepole pines and sitka spruce, the park has walking trails for all levels. Take a gentle stroll along the infant River Lee which rises in the mountains above Gougane Barra or amble among the trees; ascend quickly to various viewpoints for impressive views across the forest, lake and mountains. Information boards around the park give details of the various trails and their difficulty level.
- There are picnic tables throughout the park.
- Entry is free to walkers.
- There is a 5 euro entrance fee (coins only) for cars which allows you to park in the heart of the forest or drive the short scene circular route around the park (recommended for those with mobility issues).
The park has plentiful natural vegetation with grasses such as brents and fescues, heather and ling on the drier slopes and a large collection of purple moor grasses, bog mosses and cotton grasses on the moist slopes and in the wet hollows. Sedges and rushes flourish well here as do fox’s cabbage, butterworths and sundews. There are many rare alpine plants here too.
Flora & Fauna
The valley is full of wildlife, including deer, badgers, foxes, stoats and even the shy pine marten. There is a large variety of bird species such as willow warblers, fire crests, robins, thrushes, cuckoos and wagtails in the lower valley, while the great ravens, peregrine falcons and now the white tailed sea eagle guard the rocky crags above. In the wetlands and lake, you will find cormorants, herons, grebes, ducks, and moorhens.