Breen Oakwood Nature Reserve

Nature reserves are chosen from among the very best examples of our wildlife, habitats and geology. They contain a wide range of species, communities and geology and their designation is a public recognition by Government of their importance.


Grid Reference: D 125338


At one time, oakwoods covered much of north-east Antrim. Gradually, the trees were felled for timber and the land cleared for farming. Today, Breen Oakwood is one of the last fragments of these once extensive woodlands.

The mature oaks form a dense canopy overhead, with birch on the higher ridges. Rowan, hawthorn, holly and hazel grow beneath to form an understory, with alder and willow in the damper areas beside the streams. Ferns fungi and mosses thrive in the damp, shady conditions and in winter the dark green holly bushes contrast with the leafless branches of the oak, birch and hazel and are bedecked with both lichens and mosses.

Tits and treecreepers are common and keep an eye out for a sparrowhawk or buzzard hunting among the trees. There is also a small population of red squirrels present in the adjacent conifer plantation which are often seen in the hawthorn bushes skirting the oakwood.

In spring and summer the boggy pools and damp gullies are a haven for newts and dragonflies, and bluebells and wood anemones are among the woodland flowers.

Please keep to the paths. This will protect the tree seedlings, which are essential to the survival of the wood and cannot withstand trampling.


Car park.The NIEA Site manager is based at Co Hall Coleraine Tel: 028 703 5997.

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