A Brief History of Courtown Woods
Courtown Woodland was planted with oak and ash back in 1870. At this time it was part of a typical Victorian estate woodland where exotic conifers and redwoods from California were planted within viewing distance of Courtown House. Oak plantations were established at some distance. They were underplanted with shrubs to provide food for pheasants for shooting parties. The woodland was regularly cleared and used as firewood by local tenants
During the 1860’s and 1870’s, James Stopford, the fifth Earl of Courtown, established a pinetum, or conifer collection, in the grounds around Courtown House. A small number of these trees remain today in the Woodland and in the Coillte property across the river.
In recent years a great deal of work has been done to Courtown Woods with improvements in walk ways, while trees are carefully looked after by Coillte involving tree felling and thinning and eventually it is intended to allow a semi-natural ash woodland develop in parts. The Courtown Woodland area is situated immediately north of Courtown village. It covers approximately 25 hectares. It is bounded on the north and northwest by the Ounavarra River, on the south by the main Gorey/Courtown road and by the main car park on the north side of the village.
The Courtown Canal marks its eastern boundary. Ballinatray Bridge on the southwest boundary is a particularly fine feature. It can be viewed, with some difficulty, from within the woodland.
There are a number of walks in the Courtown area, including Courtown Woods and several others listed below.