The project to enhance and further develop the recreational benefits of existing woodland around the Upper Vartry Reservoir, Roundwood was undertaken by the Roundwood and District Community Council (RDCC) and co-funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Department of Rural and Community Development, Irish Public Bodies (IPB) together with Wicklow County Council. It was formally opened by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D., and Minister of State for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle T.D., on 9 June 2018.
Funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine was provided under the NeighbourWood Scheme. This Scheme is designed to help community groups, in cooperation with Local Authorities, to develop opportunities for recreation while creating and developing woodlands for the benefit of current and future generations. The scheme is also designed to provide outdoor classrooms for teachers to show children the important contribution forests make to society in terms of social, economic and environmental benefits.
The scheme consists of three components: NeighbourWood Establishment which provides funding towards the creation of new NeighbourWoods on open greenfield sites, NeighbourWood Enhancement which provides funding towards the silvicultural enhancement and improvement of existing woodlands which are proposed for development as neighbourwoods, and NeighbourWood Facilities which provides funding towards the installation and/or upgrade of appropriate recreational facilities within woodland areas submitted under Neighbourwood Establishment or Neighbourwood Enhancement.
The Roundwood Neighbourwood Project itself has brought the existing woodland to a better standard for recreational use through surfacing trails, putting in place informative signage and carrying out maintenance programmes once dead trees and undergrowth have been cleared. The project will also raise awareness of the woods as an important natural heritage and landscape amenity area for residents and visitors. The woodland structure has been improved through light selective thinning to facilitate development of regeneration (both natural and planted) enhancing its ecological function.
This successful work has opened the woodland to a variety of user groups, such as local people exercising both themselves and their dogs on a daily basis; families as access is now safer and there is a myriad of paths for children to explore; other walking groups, particularly active retirement groups, visitors, as the scenery in the area is fabulous with great views of the Sugarloaf and Scarr; local clubs such as the athletic club who use the tracks for training; the local soccer club whose pitch adjoins the woodland; birdwatchers, and of course those interested in the history of the Vartry Reservoir.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar formally opens the Roundwood NeighbourWood