This wood has been here for hundreds of years. It appears on old ordnance survey maps as Johnson’s and Priest’s Wood, no doubt a throwback to the days of the old estate. The wood today is a mixed forest, rich in biodiversity with a wide variety of trees and ground cover. There are a number of archaeological sites in the vicinity that are worth seeking out including ringforts, fulacht fia’s and a souterrain.
The nearby village of Ballyhooly is worth a detour. It’s position perched above the River Blackwater is very picturesque. Interestingly, it was once renowned for its apples and cider making. There are still some drinking establishments full of character in the village today
Things to do
The Woodland Trail (2.5 km, 50 mins, moderate) allows one to experience the wealth of biodiversity as significant pockets of relict woodland vegetation have been identified in this wood.
The Blackwater Avondhu Way, a long distance national way marked way of some 94km passes through the forest.
Fish: The nearby Blackwater River is famed worldwide for it’s fishing. Investigate permits and license locally.
Explore nature: Castleblagh has wide range of plant and tree species, birch and holly dominate in the lower canopy with heather, bilberry, woodrush and woodbine all present. There is an imposing avenue of Western hemlock though which the Woodland Trail passes. Bluebells, wild garlic, Red Campions and Rosebay Willowherb all make an appearance during the summer. Mammals that have been spotted include; fox, badger, rabbit, otter and a number of bat species. Sightings of Long eared owl and Sparrowhawk foraging in the area have also been reported.
Don’t miss our hidden gem
The section of the long distance walk the Blackwater Avondhu Way from Fermoy to here in Castleblagh is particularly beautiful. It should be on everyone’s bucket list and is beautiful at any time of year.