Reilly and Gole Woods 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: H 340254 (Reilly), H 336250 (Gole)


Reilly Wood has old oak trees planted some 150 years ago under the management of the Crom Estate. The trees are evenly spaced with full crowns which prevent light reaching the woodland floor, where bilberry, wood sorrel and young trees flourish.

At the south of Reilly Wood, a thick band of rhododendron was originally planted as shelter for game. Unfortunately, it encroached into the woodland but through careful management has now been removed, allowing heather and native trees , especially birch and holly, to grow. Badgers can be seen in the woods at dusk. Setts are present, either abandoned or with signs of occupation, such as bedding left at the entrance to dry.

Look out for the purple hairstreak butterfly, often found perched on the tops of oak leaves during July and August. Kestrels can be seen hovering high above the woodlands, while sparrowhawks weave through the trees below.

Gole Wood is recovering from past management when trees were felled during World War II. There are now many young oak, alder, birch, ash and willow trees. Unlike Reilly Wood, Gole Wood is quite a thicket with trees competing for light.


Reilly Wood has a small car park - follow the farm lane skirting the wood.
Crom Estate, managed by the National Trust, is on the opposite side of the Lough from Reilly and Gole Woods. It has a car park, picnic tables and a nature trail.
Phone number - 028 6773 8174.

Back to top