As part of Laois's plantation history, Capponellan was originally part of the Castledurrow estate. The woods were originally established to provide game cover and carry blocks of beech, Scots pine, Norway spruce, Sitka spruce intermixed with occasional oak, ash, birch, sally and hazel. The Erkina river flows through the northern end of the property.
On the opposite side of the N8 from the car park is the property known as Bishops wood. The Erkina river flows by at the end of the property where water lilies are growing in abundance. In the 1700’s, mass was celebrated in Bishop’s Wood. It was here, that a Bishop who was celebrating mass, was seized upon by his persecutors tied him to the “Bishops tree” where he was left until he died. A cross has been erected where the original tree was.
The 23km Leafy Loop passes through Capponnellan and offers a shorter route for those looking for a more leisurely walk. (6.5km, 2 hours, easy). Full details on the Leafy loop trail can be found here.
It is a relatively flat walk that combines the town, the forest, riverside and country roads. Perfect for a family walk. You must keep your eyes open for coppiced goat willows and hazel that are thought to be of considerable age, keeping in mind that much of this site was wooded from the 17th through to the 19th centuries.