Situated just outside Waterford's City Centre on the Tramore Road, Waterford Nature Park can be used in a wide variety of ways as it includes walking routes, play equipment, exercise spaces, nature trails, integrated wetlands, wildflower meadows and wildlife areas. It has a two kilometre walkway as well as a series of paths which traverse the park. The paths are a mixture of tarmacadam, as well as paths mown through the meadows, which will allow children to interact closely with nature. Stones collected in the park have been used to construct low stone walls which created small fields, which were then planted with flower and meadow seeds which in turn have become home to a variety of insects and butterflies. 20,000 trees were planted during the creation of the park.
History of the park
The Vikings (Hiberno-Norse) built a longphort where the River Suir and the St. John's River meet. This and the later Anglo-Norman settlement were located by the wetlands (or bog), the remaining part of which is now known as Kilbarry Bog; Kilbarry meaning the Church of St. Finbarr. The ruins of a monastery and church can still be seen there today and in the 12th century, this was the headquarters of the Knight's Templar (from which the housing estate Templar's Hall gets its name). The Tramore Road was then opened in the 1840s while the railway line opened in 1853 and ran along the new road, where the walkway is now. It crossed over the road at the Black Rock. This railway closed in 1959.
The bog itself is centered around the St. John's River and is made up of a number of types of environments: reedswamp, freshwater marsh, wet grassland and willow scrub woodland. The bog is noted as being of national importance for the reed warbler bird and of regional importance for aquatic biodiversity. Along the banks of the St. John's River there is a wide variety of common plant life, moths and butterflies, providing food and cover for mammals and birds.
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