Lough Dan Eco-Park & Environmental Awareness

Located between the mountains and the lake there is a fantastic mosaic of habitat types at Lough Dan. Some of these are nationally important and form part of a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) but all contribute in their own way to the vast biodiversity of the area. We manage the site in a sustainable fashion, with proper waste management that encourages reduce, reuse and recycle. We use only locally produced firewood from sustainable forests and encourage minimum impact camping through the Leave No Trace principles which all form part of our eco-strategy.

Part of our plan is to turn Lough Dan into a Scout Eco Park where environmental awareness and education form part of what we do. In its very simplest this will revolve around the theme of “pitch and get out” encouraging everyone that comes to Lough Dan to get out into Wild Wicklow and reconnect with nature. Laminated maps and route cards for the most popular hike routes are available from the office.

We are showcasing around the site 100 eco-actions (things that will benefit the environment) such as bird & bat boxes, insect hotels, planting trees, creating native woodlands and wild flower areas for pollinators, proper waste disposal etc All things that you can copy and do at home to turn your scout den into a Green Scout Den. The best 50 of these are outlined in more detail with the “how-to” on our new web resource eco.loughdan.com

We have set up a small replica of Charles Darwin’s cabin on board HMS Beagle as our Eco-base where scouts can learn about all aspects of nature, evolution and how plants and animals adapt in a competitive world, To this we have just added a new 2.5 km interactive nature trail THE TREE MUSEUM which travels around the perimeter of the site and into many of our wonderful habitats. In the museum you can construct a variety of bird and bat boxes, learn about solar power, go bird watching, work out the age of trees, and just listen to the pulse of nature.  Explore biodiversity using your smart phones to photograph nature (the landscape, the wildlife, the sky). We have ID keys in the Eco-base to help identify flora and fauna. We also have a short  1 hr  “Cat’s Eye” night hike where yo use your torches to follow the post and reflectors (make sure to stop and listen to the wind in the trees and to look at the night sky, its pretty good around here.

We have management strategies for all the habitat types and we participate with the local community in the Pure Mile project which encourages proper hedgerow management and works to reduce fly tipping and roadside litter. We are also in the process of establishing a wild flower meadow and an 8 hectare Native Woodland on the site.