One of my first WordPress posts was the one about Jenkinstown Woods. Now, after a year, I am visiting another bluebell forest, Mountain Grove – a loop trail just outside Piltown, Co Kilkenny.
Mountain Grove is an old woodland part of Piltown forest that is located in South West Kilkenny, covering an area of 1,823 hectares. The forest stretches to the Tipperary border on the west and to the Waterford border on the south, along the river Suir. The main tree species growing in the forest include Sitka spruce, larch, Douglas fir, beech, ash and oak, with the broadleaves dominating in Mountain Grove – as you can see in the images.
Starting off from the tiny parking spot, I meet two dog walkers and from this moment I am there alone for a whole two hours.
The quietness is almost surreal. The birds are nesting and prefer not to expose themselves, and I don’t see any presence of the mammals either – dogs have scared them away from the grove.
The bluebells are scarce but nevertheless their fragrance is intense, sweet and alluring. I walk off the trail and feel like I disappear from the world and become a part of the wild woodland.
The early purple orchid was once a common plant, but now it is a rare guest in the woodlands. Many wild orchids are legally protected, but this fact does not stop people picking them… A friend went to the Mountain Grove just three days later and didn’t find a single flower – all gone. People don’t realize that it takes years for the orchids to germinate.
The early purple orchid is the “long purple” of Ophelia’s garland, as referred to by Gertrude in Shakespeare’s Hamlet:
“Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples, that liberal shepherds give a grosser name”
Different species of Ferns started unrolling their young fronds. In the image below – Hart’s tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium).
And of course there is a beautiful yet nameless stream.
I will be back!
Hope you enjoyed the woodlands.