Oughaval Wood or Coill na Nuachabhála, meaning Wood of new settlement, is over 150 hectares. The Wood is situated on a ridge of Carboniferous Limestone. It forms part of the Natural Heritage Area (NHA) of Stradbally Hill. The wood was once part of the Cosby Estate. Evidence of this is apparent in the form of old estate stone walls that run through the property and a folly called Cobbler’s Castle. This folly was constructed during the famine (1845-1848) on the site of a pre Christian castle. Also of interest is a mass rock nestled within the trees. Mass was conducted here in secret during Penal times (c1691-1727). A stone cross was erected in 1957. An altar and seating was erected here to mark the Millennium. Mass is celebrated here on occasion.
Things to do
Walk: The wood has 3 looped walks which can cater for both the casual stroller or the nature walker, all these trails are waymarked. The Mass Rock Walk (2kms, 30mins, moderate) is a nice walk through the forest and leads you to the site of the mass rock; The Beech Way Walk (2kms, 30mins, moderate) is the shortest walk in the forest but a great way to stretch the legs and you will also pass the mass rock along your way; The Cobbler’s Castle Walk (6km, 1 ¼ hrs, moderate) the longest of the 3 walks and takes you right around the whole wood, and close to the site of the Cobler’s Castle folly.
Don't miss our hidden gem
There is a mass rock hidden in the centre of the forest not far from the trails