On Saturday hlast, as part of local biodiversity week festival events, a new national looped walking trail, The Loop of Laghile and Loughaun, was officially launched at Sopwell Woodlands by well known walks author and trails guide, John G. Ó Dywer.
Developed by the Cloughjordan Community Development Committee as part of their local walks strategy, the new loop walk is the first in this part of the county and a great achievement by all concerned.
The looped walk brings the visitor through the townlands of Laghile (An Leathchoill) and Loughaun (an Lochán), a diverse and attractive landscape of woodland, bog and boreen. From the trailhead in Sopwell Woodlands (Coill na Lathach), you follow the forest road network and cross a footbridge over the Silver Stream (Sruthán an Airgid) to enter Scohaboy Bog, a Special Area of Conservation and home to a unique tapestry of rare peatland life. Crossing the open spaces of Scohaboy along a 1000m bog-bridge the walker will pass a spur to a viewing platform with expansive views south to a series of low lying hills with a high point of Keeper Hill (Sliabh Coimeálta). From the platform, the visitor looks out over an untouched landscape that is 10,000 years old, connecting directly back to the last ice age! The bog-bridge exits onto a bog road and crossing the Silver Stream once again, a sheltered boreen brings you to the Old Birr Road, left then to Laghile Woods and back to the trailhead by way of the forest path network.
The heart of the new loop walk is Scohaboy Bog SAC. It is amongst the most important raised bog systems remaining in Europe and the LIFE restoration project there is one of the most successful community supported conservation efforts of it`s kind in Ireland today.
In realising this significant new community asset and public good, the CCDC would like to thank project funders, Department of Rural and Community Development, North Tipperary Development Company, South Tipperary Development Company and the CPM Trench Will Trust. The CCDC thanks Coillte Forest and the National Parks and Wildlife Service for their guidance, support and access consents. A sincere thanks goes to all the local landowners who generously gave consent for their lands to be crossed in developing the trail, to John Egan, the Tipperary Rural Recreation Officer, for his invaluable guidance and a special thanks to all the community volunteers who worked to make this walk a reality. Full walk details will soon be listed on www.irishtrails.ie.