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Raheens Woodland, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

Raheens Wood is located just a few kilometres west of Castlebar in Co. Mayo. A great spot for a walk or a family day out or a place to take your students from your primary school as part of a field trip with the Heritage in Schools programme. We visited yesterday (February 11th 2014) during a hail shower which added a little colour. Not only is the site interesting from an environmental perspective, it had also much historical significance so ideal for an educational day out or even school tour.

Raheens  Wood is a woodland of circa 33.0 hectares of which 23.5 is classified as old woodland dating back to around 1840. The wood is considered to be a very good example of  a semi-natural woodland, and one of the best examples of native woodland habitat in the general area . The dominant tree species are, Hazel, and Birch with occasional Ash, Oak, Rowan, Grey willow and Alder. Also evident is coppicing of hazel carried out many years ago.
The ground layer throughout contains a large and wide variety of species. The vegetation is dominated by greater woodrush, bracken, bramble, wood avens, wood sedge, ivy, briar, mosses and lichens. Also present is enchanters nightshade and herb Robert which is conspicuous along the trail corridor. Two noteworthy plant species are found growing within the site namely red campion (Silene dioica) and the lichen lungwort (Lobraria pulmonaria). These two species are relatively uncommon in County Mayo, and indicate the area is a long established native woodland  of high ecological value. – (Source: