A Dundalk woman who is passionate about the great outdoors is encouraging people to participate in woodland walks.
Lisa Watters, from Marian Park, Dundalk, established Louth Woodland Gatherings several months ago.
The group is for anybody who enjoys walking in wooded areas and is interested in nature.
Lisa originally established the group by organising a walk against the privatisation of Ireland’s forested areas. Since then the group has grown and has developed into a social scene.
The group goes for forests walks in Ravensdale, Slieve Gullion and areas around Drogheda.
“I always had an interest in the outdoors,” said Lisa. “I have great childhood memories of going to forests.
“When I was younger I would go to Ravensdale forest with the family. We would have a great time being outside.
“We have some great forests in our area that are beautiful. We should really appreciate them.”
Lisa organises a variety of different walks for different fitness levels.
Some walks are relaxing, while others are more intense and demand a healthy level of fitness.
“There are a number of routes and we vary them each month,” she said.
“We cater for everybody. From the family walk to the intense hiker, we ensure that there is something for everybody.”
When a walk takes place the details are posted to the groups facebook page.
Louth Woodland Gatherings have also helped in geotourism projects and conservation works in Ravensdale.
“We took part in a volunteer day to help clean-up Ravensdale forest,” said Lisa.
“We cleared a number of paths in the forest. We also uncovered a river that could not be seen.”
The group is not funded in any way. Rather, it is Lisa’s interest and energy that keeps it alive.
“We are not funded. It really is just one person organising walks for like-minded people.
“Going for forest walks helps to relax the mind.
“Anybody who is interested in the group can find them on facebook by searching “Louth Woodland Gatherings.”
“Perhaps people don’t realise that this county has such wondefull woodland.
“You could easily set off for a walk in the north of the county and see and appreciate some of the finest forests in the country.
“Right across Carlingford Lough there is beautiful woodland.”
Ravensdale Forest is mixed woodland rising steeply to the summit of Black Mountain (506m) with many kilometres of forest roads and tracks.
There are three way marked trails in the forest, the Tain Trail, the Ring of Gullion and the short but interesting Ravensdale Loop.
The forest is rich in archaeological features such as the standing stones just a short detour off the Ravensdale Loop.