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Discover The Beauty Of The Knockmealdowns

  • walking Knockmealdowns
  • walking Knockmealdown Mountains
  • Knockmealdowns - image by Claire Littlejon

The Knockmealdown Mountains

It is difficult to imagine the millions of years of sedimentation, folding, lifting and erosion that ultimately left us with the shape of the landscape that we see around us. The Knockmealdown Mountains are composed of Devonian sandstone which at one time was overlain with carboniferous limestone. Being a softer rock this limestone was eroded away over millions of years and that process has left this area with two quite distinct geological areas – the red sandstone uplands and the richer, more productive grey limestone lowlands. Take a look at any of the field boundary walls or older buildings in the area and you will see the grey and red pattern formed by these building materials.

Glaciation was a primary force of erosion and its power is evidenced where it carved out the corrie lake which is now known as Bay Lough. Other examples of the power of glaciers can be seen in Ardfinnan where terminal moraines have deposited enormous quantities of sand and gravel forming the hillside opposite the roundabout on the Clonmel side of the village. While natural forces have given us the shape or skeleton of the landscape, it is primarily humans and their impacts that have decorated this landscape with roads, towns, house styles, field shapes, forestry planting and even the ‘telegraph’ poles. All of these cultural influences contribute to the patterns in the landscape that we are so familiar with today.

Hill walkers can climb the Knockmealdown Mountains from Newcastle and Clogheen on the northern side, or from Lismore and Cappoquin on the southern side. Any of these bases give good access to the higher parts of the range. Ground conditions are often dry and heathery, while forest tracks and narrow roads can be used to make easy approaches. The East Munster Way passes through the forests on the northern side of the range, while St Declan’s Way crosses a broad gap in the middle.

If you would like more information on The Knockmealdown mountains, Please visit The Knockmealdowns

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