The Blessington Greenway project aimed to survey the lands around the Poulaphouca Reservoir in West County Wicklow for the installation of a cycling/walking track, and is actually an extension of the existing Greenway that runs through the town of Blessington. The planned route ran for over 70 km through urban areas and open woodlands, and through dense bramble scrub understory and storm damaged conifer plantations. Flynn Furney undertook this project in conjunction with Wicklow County Council and Aecom.
The initial part of the project took the form of a habitat survey in late summer 2020, where three teams split up to examine the various flora and fauna of the lakeshore and adjacent areas over three days. Evidence of Otters, Badgers and Foxes were found and a Pine Marten was even caught on camera! The reservoir itself is an area of wild bird conservation, where waterfowl like the Goosander (Common Merganser) can sometimes be seen. The surrounding habitats are mainly composed of wet deciduous woodlands, populated with Willow, Ash and Alder, interspersed with long strips of conifer plantation, such as Sitka Spruce, Lodgepole Pine and Scots Pine.
Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA)
In January/February of 2021, a longer arboricultural impact assessment survey was carried out over two weeks by a Flynn Furney ecologist and arborist from Tree to Tree. The aim of the AIA was to assess the quality and condition of all the trees that were likely to be impacted by the cycleway, and determine which ones should be removed/managed and which ones should be retained for ecological and cultural significance. Some of the highlights of this survey were a grove of Oak trees, at least 30m tall and over 200 years old which were found in a small stream hollow and an ash tree with seven trunks whose base had a circumference of eight meters!