Ballygannon - Location of the Millennium Forests
Ballygannon Wood is part of the Wicklow oakwoods, the second largest oak forest in Ireland. The wood is on the west side of the Avonmore river valley near Rathdrum in Co. Wicklow. Please see directions/map below.
The Irish name, Baile na gCanonach, means 'the town or dwelling of the canons'. The canons -clerics attached to a cathedral - owned land near Rathdrum and had been brought to Dublin by St. Laurence O'Toole In the 12th century.
The wood was once part of the Watson-Wentworth estate. It had been managed under a coppice system for 350 years. In coppicing, the trees are cut down to a stump but quickly grow again and the new, straight shoots are harvested as poles.
Ballygannon Wood was probably much larger then. A large part of the woodland was cleared before 1750 and many more trees were cut down during the two World Wars. Now the woods are mainly oak, with holly, hazel and rowan, and wild honeysuckle, primroses and violets, growing on the forest floor.
Jays, long-eared owls, woodcocks, wood warblers, crossbills, treecreepers, sparrow hawks and long-tailed tits live in the woods as well as red squirrels, badgers, woodmice, shrews and foxes.
Today, Coillte is restoring Ballygannon as a working oakwood where conservation and timber production will take place side by side. Over 40,000 oak trees, grown by Coillte from seeds collected In Co. Wicklow, have been planted. Birch trees in the wood are being re-spaced also to allow the best-quality trees to grow bigger. Grazing animals like cattle, sheep, deer and rabbits will be kept out to conserve the trees and seedlings and allow them to spread.
Ballygannon Wood is one of 14 native woodlands that are being restored or are being created. Six are Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) that will be brought back to their original broadleaved condition thereby enhancing their wildlife value. The trees and forests will grow and live for hundreds more years and bring pleasure to people now and long into the future.
View Ballygannon in a larger map
Please see refreshed and upgraded signage installed on all the Millennium sites during 2011.
(This new signage was funded by AIB)