Native Woodland Trust Sites In County Wicklow
The Native Woodland Trust is a non-government charity dedicated to the protection of Ireland’s native woodlands, in particular our scarce ancient woodland. Native woodland is woodland made up of native Irish trees such as oak, ash, hazel and elm. These native trees in turn support a diverse variety of woodland flowers and native wildlife. A walk through a native Irish woodland is an experience rich in our natural heritage. One can expect to encounter beautiful wildflowers such as bluebells and wood anemone under the leafy canopy as well as woodland wildlife such as badgers, buzzing bees and woodpeckers. This habitat is all too rare in Ireland and even scarcer is ancient woodland, native woodland existing since before the 16th century.
In Wicklow, the Native Woodland Trust currently has two woodland reserves both open to the public and continuously developing with the help of local volunteers. These are the Blessington Nature Reserve just south of the town of Blessington and the Wicklow Mountains Woodland Reserve in Laragh.
Our Blessington Nature Reserve is a 16 acre site purchase by the Trust in 2010 located on the shores of the Poulaphouca reservoir south of Blessington and opposite Russborough House. The reserve is packed full of wildlife with a number of different habitat such as native woodlands, mixed woodland, grassland and marsh. The site is listed as a potential Natural Heritage Area and is the home to wildlife such as butterflies, dragonflies, solitary mining bees, newts, bats and the Irish wading bird the snipe, which you can hear drumming over the site in summer. The diversity of habitats on this site helps support all this wildlife as does the mature tree specimen present including beech trees most likely planted 250 years ago as part of the Russborough Estate. Interesting native trees species are present such as Wych Elm and ancient woodland indicators, represented by Bugle and Water Avens, point to the existence of woodland on this site for hundreds of years into the past. All this natural heritage is protect and monitored by the Native Woodland Trust and will continue to be long into the future.
So far this year we have carried out loads of educational public events on the reserve including; Guided Tree Walks and Scavenger Hunts, Botany, Bugs and Butterflies Days and a Guided Bat Walk. So come and join us on this beautiful piece of Wicklow’s natural heritage
Our Wicklow Mountains Woodland Reserve is a twenty acre site found within a beautiful valley just above the village of Laragh and on the Wicklow Way, at the Brusher Gap mountain hut. This site commands spectacular vies of the Wicklow Mountains down toward the coast and the Devils Glen. The most exciting things about this site is that is in not yet wooded and will be the focus of much planting activity over the next few years. We will be planting the site with native species grown from seed soured in the fantastic native oak woodlands found in the valleys nearby. The site boarders the Wicklow Mountains National Park and we are happy to be adding another piece of protected land to the parks expanse. The site is home to important butterfly species such as the wall brown and will be developed with the current biodiversity’s needs in mind. So far this year we have had many volunteer days on site carrying out tasks such as native tree planting and berry collection.
Join us for an acorn collecting or tree planting event at this spectacular reserve soon. For directions to the Wicklow Community Woodland sites, updates on activities and more information visit www.nativewoodlandtrust.ie