Ballybrack Woods (Mangala)

‘What a joy and relief from the incessant traffic. The tinkle of the flowing stream, two bridges, foliage of the trees growing wild along the path, is that an altar in someone’s back garden, the sheer drop of the land, the massive retaining wall. … It was a highlight of the work of the day.’
(Douglas Tidy Towns Adjudicator Report 2012)

The Ballybrack Woods (locally also known as ‘Mangala’, ‘Mangola’, or ‘Mangla’) are located across from the Douglas Community Park. Unfortunately, over the last few years the area has been a bit neglected. But, with the help of the community we want to enhance the appeal of the woods so that they become a major recreational and educational facility for the Douglas area.

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The woods in winter

Here’s what we have in mind so far:

  • Clear and repair paths (done!)
  • Create way-marked trail (done!)
  • Add signs to increase awareness of the area
  • Increase biodiversity and create a wildlife meadow (in process!)

Looped trail

Trail-Planning-Map
Planned marked walking trail (click on picture for larger map)

With the help of the Probation Service, a contractor, Douglas Scouts and our volunteers we restored and improved existing paths in the woods and created a 1.2 km looped walk. Financial support for this project was provided by SECAD, Cork County Council and donations received. More information about the trail can be found here: Ballybrack Woods Trail.

The National Trails Office concluded in its 2013 assessment of the proposed trail that ‘…  Ballybrack Woods Trail seems a well-planned trail, which should prove very popular, offering an excellent complement to the Ballybrack Valley Cycle Track. It has the potential to become a valued recreational asset in the community, and may develop over time into an environmental and educational amenity.’ The full assessment is available  here: Ballybrack Woods Site Assessment 2013

Freshly painted railings
Freshly painted railings

Cork County Council conducted a major upgrade of the main artery through the woods. This work saw the existing footpaths upgraded to 3m wide, tarmacked cycle/walking ways with lighting (the original  plans are available here: http://douglastidytowns.ie/ballybrack-valley-cycle-track/).
Douglas Tidy Towns made a submission regarding these plans, this can be found here: TT submission (we would like to thank the Cork branch of the Irish Wildlife Trust for their assistance).
The Irish Wildlife Trust’s submission is here: IWT – Ballybrack woods.

We need your help with this! If anyone has interest in the work outlined above or any other ideas, we would like to hear from you!