Balladine NeighbourWood Project

The NeighbourWood Project in Balladine will see the transformation of a formerly unmanaged site into a landscaped space that will deliver: Recreation & Amenity, Native Woodland Habitat and also a significant Carbon Sink in the heart of Abbeyleix. This project is being led by the committed and hardworking residents in Corrán na n-Óir, Gort na n-Óir, Slí na n-Óir, Balladine Heights and Balladine Drive (local coordinator and point of contact Aisling Rothwell) in conjunction with Abbeyleix Tidy Towns and Laois County Council.

The project is funded by the Forestry Service (NeighbourWood Scheme) and also Laois County Council. The design for this project was provided by GreenPine Consultants and the work on the ground is being done by locally based contractor Seamus Whelan.

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Phase 1: 2020

The first phase of the Balladine Landscape plan saw the drainage of a playing area which tended to be very greasy and wet as it is was underlain by compacted builders rubble. Following a comprehensive drainage project funded through the Community Enhancement Scheme, this area is now free draining and suitable for use as a play-area all year round. The local residents also use it to host community days etc. This playing area/ multi use area will tie in well with the adjacent grounds which will be developed as native woodland.

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Phase 2: 2021

The second phase of this project saw the establishment of the first "NeighbourWood" in Laois. The formerly un-managed site has been transformed by the establishment of approximately 2.5 acres of native woodland and also pathways, wildlife interpretation and an outdoor classroom area.



Abbyleix delivers for National Tree week with 5000 Native Trees (March 2021)

The community in Abbeyleix has been very busy in the run up to National Tree Week with a programme of planting that has seen 5000 native trees established in and around the town. The icing on the cake has seen the establishment of a 2 ½ acre recreation focused native woodland or NeighbourWood adjacent to the estates of Corrán na n-Óir, Gort na n-Óir, Slí na n-Óir, Balladine Heights and Balladine Drive which are located in the middle of the heritage town of Abbeyleix.

Local children came out on Sunday 21st March to put the finishing touches to the NeighbourWood by planting the last of the 3000 trees that make up the 2 ½ acre plot. This project was organised by Abbeyleix Tidy Towns in close collaboration with the local residents groups. Funding was secured through the Forestry Service and Laois County Council who are very supportive of the project that has been over 2 years in the planning. Aishling Rothwell, a key local organiser on the project said, “ we are delighted to see the transformation of this area into a recreation and learning space and also a wildlife habitat”. She added; “ the local kids are very excited and were delighted to get the chance to actually plant some of the trees”.

This NeighbourWood project ties in neatly with an ambition of Abbeyleix Tidy Towns to establish more native trees into public and private spaces around the town. In the run up to National Tree Week, 1500 additional trees were also distributed to local gardens, sports facilities, smallholdings and farms in a joint initiative with Trees on the Land (coordinated locally by Brian Gaynor).

This native tree project is part of a wider Climate Action initiative, which is seeing the gradual transformation of Abbeyleix into a more sustainable community. To find out more about this project visit: https://www.abbeyleixtidytowns.net/neighbourwood-project or follow us on Facebook.