'Significant increase' in visitor numbers to Waterford wood since Covid-19 lockdown






'Significant increase' in visitor numbers to Waterford wood since Covid-19 lockdown

Coillte forest in Waterford sees significant increase in visitor numbers since Covid-19 restrictions eased

Coillte has released new figures revealing that there was a large increase in visitor numbers to one of their forests in County Waterford.

One of Coillte’s forests in Waterford, Colligan Wood recreation forest can track visitor numbers and recorded 13,137 visitors between June and August. This was a significant increase on visitor numbers in April and May, during the height of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

During March and April 2020, when Covid-19 restrictions were at their most limiting, Coillte saw a large drop in visitor numbers as non-essential travel was restricted. However, since travel restrictions were lifted on June 19, visitors have begun returning to Coillte’s forests across Ireland.

Coillte is Ireland’s leading provider of outdoor recreation activities in Ireland with more than 3,000 kilometres of trails, 260 recreation sites and 12 forest parks across the country.

“Since restrictions were eased and people could move more than five kilometres from their homes, we, unsurprisingly, saw an immediate large increase in visitor numbers," said Coillte chief executive Imelda Hurley.

"In fact, there was a significant increase in visitor numbers in one of Coillte’s Waterford forests since lockdown restrictions were eased in June, Colligan Wood recreation forest. This continued, steady increase is heartening for all of those who cherish our amenities.

“Access to nature is very important for the body, mind and spirit and that is why we work hard to maintain our tracks, parks and outdoor recreational facilities across Waterford.

“As we approach the end of August, and people take time to enjoy our forests, we ask that visitors continue to adhere to the social distancing rule of two metres when meeting others outside of their household, as well as the other guidelines on outdoor gatherings announced by the Government. I want to thank the public for adhering to the Government’s travel restrictions during the Covid-19 lockdown. If we continue to remain vigilant, we can all play our own part in protecting our communities.’’