Trip to Raphoe, June 2009

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In June 2009 some of the group went on a forest walk on the farm of Ralph & Liz Shepherd in Raphoe. The Shepherds have planted 25 acres of forest. The first 5 acres were planted in 1980, a further 10 acres in 1990 and the final 10 in 1999. Both Ralph (pronounced Rafe) and Liz are both experts in biodiversity and Ralph hosts a website specialising in MOTH populations in Donegal.

The farm is a wonderful place to experience nature's work in progress and you can see huge differences as you move between the plantations; changes in the undergrowth, the development of the trees, the wildlife and even the change in atmosphere as you move from the newer forests to the more mature trees.
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the millenium tree


The Shepherd's last plantation was finished at midnight on December 31st 1999 with the ceremonial planting of an apple tree in the centre. They brought a clock with them to the forest to make sure that everyone would know when midnight was approaching, but as it happened, the whole neighbourhood erupted at midnight with fireworks and cheering, so they were left in no doubt at all that their timing was perfect!
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After tea and very interesting conversations with our hosts, we decided, since we were in the area, to visit the STONE CIRCLE at Beltany. Although the sun had already set, there was a powerful atmosphere around the whole area. Definitely worth another visit.
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