Forest Walks Home Nature Trail

Bugles in Belleek

The bundles of bugles along the trail in Belleek Wood herald the arrival of mid-summer in this Moyside paradise where the unassuming flower blooms in a shaded fernery of unfurling green beneath a canopy of lanky larch and leggy hawthorn.

From a distance the bugle is not a show-stopper; its true beauty is only fully appreciated at close quarters where the unassuming elegance of its flower’s blue tints is revealed in its rigid tall stem of tiered leaves.

Bugles blooming in Belleek Wood, Ballina, Co. Mayo. Photo: Anthony Hickey

Ascending layers of powder blue flowers, complemented by the delicate bronze of its faded blooms, are exhibited on modest green plates of ornate leaves; nature’s exquisite and intricate ornamental work is so easily missed as we pass along the woodland walk.

On a wet mid-summer morning, the polypody ferns and Asiatic pennywort are thriving in the damp and shade among the fallen and rotting branches scattered over a carpet of moss.

Belleek Wood is slowly being restored to its former glory as native tree species replace fast-growing evergreens and by degree evolve into one of Mayo’s Temperate Rainforests.

Bugles blooming in Belleek Wood, Ballina, Co. Mayo. Photo: Anthony Hickey

Lanterns of flowers

Further along the trail, its edge ornamented with exquisite pinks of herb-robert and the familiar geranium, Bloody Cranesbill, the rich hues of an overhanging fuchsia bush set the tree-line ablaze in a bumptious display of crimson and purple.

Filtering the intense mid-summer sunlight through its filigree of slender branches, draped in vivid lanterns of flowers, the bush is one of a scattering of fuchsia in Belleek Wood.

Bugles blooming in Belleek Wood, Ballina, Co. Mayo. Photo: Anthony Hickey

By the riverside picnic benches, the Belleek Forest Enhancement Committee’s (link) planted wildflower meadow is in full bloom; the dog daisies, buttercups, and lovely pink streamers of ragged-robin swaying in the breeze among the tall meadow grasses.

It’s here, this estuarine vista of the Moy dissolving into Killala Bay draws the eye all the way to the mountainous sandhills of Bartragh at the end of Enniscrone beach.

By Anthony Hickey

Follow writer and photographer, Anthony Hickey, as he travels around his native Co. Mayo, Ireland.