Camolin, Co. Wexford; Ecological Report

Camolin, Co. Wexford; Ecological Report


This survey was to include

  • inventory of flora, fauna and habitats, especially items of special conservation value covered by National or EU legislation
  • management advice to protect key habitats and species
  • recommendations to enhance the biodiversity of the whole site

The site was visited in September 2000 and subsequently discussed with Mr Pat Noonan, the Coillte Site Manager.


White Wood occupies a low ridge extending from Slieveboy, an acid volcanic hill about 4km north-west of Camolin. Two plots have been chosen and cleared, the small northern one is level but the more southern one slopes slightly towards the south-west. Both occur at the edge of a larger coniferous wood with pastures to the west and south. When mapped in 1839 the stand was entirely of deciduous trees and formed the western end of Camolin Demesne in the townland of Ballyduff (Map 1). The estate had considerable woodland and even today retains a significant amount of oak.

No watercourses occur on site though the southern boundary of the southern plot lies above a deepened stream. There may also be some seasonal flow in the marginal ditches. There is also no exposed rock and few hummocks or hollows other than those created by former enclosure. This uniformity means that the habitat lacks diversity - a fact reflected by the current flora and fauna.


Felling and site preparation had taken place the site was visited so that windrows were in place and planting holes excavated. However a good idea of the pre-existing vegetation was obtained from marginal areas.

3.1 Northern plot (Map 2)

This plot is aligned roughly N-S along an existing roadway and runs south from the old gate lodge of the demesne. It carried some large oak Quercus robur in the past but is now almost totally cleared with only a few seedling holly Ilex aquifolium and willow Salix cinerea along the windrows. The general vegetation consists of rose-bay Chamaerion angustifolium, bramble Rubus fruticosus, bracken Pteridium aquilinum and a little honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum with colonisation by species of disturbed ground, e.g. ragwort Senecio jacobaea, foxglove Digitalis purpurea and common gorse Ulex europaeus. Exceptionally, in vehicle marks, there is some cudweed Gnaphalium uliginosum and toad rush Juncus bufonius. Woodland species that are currently found include

Hyacinthoides non-scriptus bluebell
Luzula sylvatica greater woodrush
Lysimachia nemorum yellow pimpernel
Stachys sylvatica hedge woundwort
Primula vulgaris primrose
Dryopteris dilatata buckler fern
Cardamine flexuosa bittercress
Stellaria holostea greater stitchwort
Scrophularia nodosa figwort

but there are also some more open-ground species such as shining St John's wort Hypericum pulchrum, trailing St John's wort H.humifusum, common bent Agrostis capillaris and sweet vernal grass Anthoxanthum odoratum.

The eastern margin consists of a mixed belt of hazel Corylus avellana, holly Ilex aquifolium and silver birch Betula pendula under which additional species persist and will presumably spread into the new forest, i.e.

Oxalis acetosella wood sorrel
Blechnum spicant hard fern
Viola riviniana common violet
Carex sylvatica wood sedge
C.remota distant sedge
Polystichum setiferum shield fern
Dryopteris affinis male fern
Glechoma hederacea ground ivy
Potentilla sterilis barren strawberry
Hypericum androsaemum tutsan
Geranium robertianum herb robert
Teucrium scorodonia wood sage

2.2 Southern plot

This area was formerly a mixed one of conifers (Abies grandis, Pinus radiata) and broadleaves (Fagus sylvatica and Quercus robur). The last species remains, especially on the south-west and western side and creates significant shelter for the whole. Apart from the trees the vegetation is very similar to the first area though there are more tree seedlings, of the oak, an Abies species, of willows Salix cinerea, S.caprea, rowan Sorbus aucuparia and holly Ilex aquifolium. There are also more brambles which make access difficult in places. Other woody species are ivy Hedera helix, wild raspberry Rubus idaeus, honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum, common gorse Ulex europaeus, autumn gorse U.gallii (rarely) and broom Cytisus scoparius.

Herbaceous plants again consist of woodland relicts and more recent colonists. The former are restricted in variety because of the uniform habitat, e.g.

Hyacinthoides non-scriptus bluebell
Teucrium scorodonia wood sage
Carex sylvatica wood sedge
Pteridium aquilinum bracken
Luzula sylvatica greater woodrush
Blechnum spicant hard fern
Oxalis acetosella wood sorrel
Stachys sylvatica hedge woundwort
Polypodium vulgare polypody fern
Hypnum cupressiforme a moss

The species that are spreading are those typical of felled areas, for example

Chamaerion angustifolium rose-bay
Agrostis capillaris common bent
A.canina velvet bent
Holcus lanatus Yorkshire fog
Juncus effusus soft rush

J.conglomeratus compact rush
Hypericum pulchrum shining St John's wort
H.humifusum trailing St John's wort
Digitalis purpurea foxglove
Polytrichum aloides a moss
P.juniperinum ,,

The western and northern edges of this plot contain the greatest number of oaks but the flora beneath them is surprisingly sparse as it is shaded out by bracken and brambles. The banks are the richest sites, adding

Brachypodium sylvaticum false brome
Lysimachia nemorum yellow pimpernel
Viola riviniana common violet
Potentilla sterilis barren strawberry
Sambucus nigra elder
Veronica chamaedrys germander speedwell
Primula vulgaris primrose
Dryopteris dilatata buckler fern
D.affinis male fern
Glechoma hederacea ground ivy
Urtica dioica nettle
Galium aparine goosegrass
Mnium hornum a moss
Eurynchium striatum ,,
E.praelongum ,,
Dicranella heteromalla ,,

Some of these occur again above the southern stream where an abundance of primrose Primula vulgaris and wood sorrel Oxalis acetosella is notable.


The mammal fauna of the sites are currently restricted by the lack of cover but judging by the adjacent areas will come to consist of rabbit, hare, wood mouse, pygmy shrew, badger, fox and red squirrel. The plots are being fenced against the rabbit and hare as there is little presence of deer in the locality (Pat Noonan, pers.comm.). Bats are likely to frequent the southern site because of the presence of large oaks which have cavities for roosting. Thus Leisler's, pipistrelle and long-eared could occur as there are sufficient trees to produce good foraging conditions and a large overall area. The old Gate Lodge at the northern end may provide a breeding roost also.

The isolated large trees in the plots were being used by woodpigeon jay, magpie, jackdaw and rook when visited and the jay seems to have a high local population. There were also

pheasant in a marginal hedge. Smaller species included great tit, blue tit, coal tit, goldcrest, dunnock, wren and linnet though in the summer willow warbler, chiffchaff and blackcap may be expected.


The two plots in Camolin Park have a surprisingly restricted flora with no real features of interest. This may be partly because of the rock and soil type which is sandy, acidic and dry. There had also been considerable work done when the site was visited so it had had the impact of heavy machinery, bramble growth and some herbicide treatment.

No rare species were seen and there are no records from the past in this location. In particular no protected species or habitats of significance occur as the oak stand does not qualify as 'Old oak woods with Ilex and Blechnum in the British Isles' a category listed in Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive. The only unusual plant recorded from the Camolin vicinity is yellow fumitory Ceratocapnos claviculata which grows in open and gorse covered ground - most likely on Slieveboy.

Because of the extensive area of mixed woodland nearby there is likely to be high faunal diversity in general which will colonise the new woodlands as they develop. Jays have been noted as having a high local population and there are undoubtedly long-eared owl somewhere in the woods. As the ground flora increases and the trees grow, butterfly species could in time include the silver-washed fritillary, holly blue and purple hairstreak. Pine martens will also reach the site if they are not there already - there are many old records for Camolin.


The site suffers in an ecological sense from a lack of diversity though it grows good trees. Thus there should be some thought given to creating physical differences in future, for example by making permanent clearings and scrub areas within the new planted woodlands. The edges of clearings and paths are some of the most productive sites for invertebrates and birds and augment the wildlife at ground level. In contrast the considerable biodiversity in deciduous tree canopies is little appreciated by people on the ground.

The localities with above-average value for flora in each plot should be protected from vehicular or other damage and new paths should not be laid so as to separate them from the Millennium plantings. In this way there should be no physical change to the eastern margins of the smaller plot and to the north-western edges of the larger one.

Aspen Populus tremula should be introduced on one of the plots as it is a species with a large associated fauna as well as being visually interesting. Since it suckers naturally a few planted individuals will make a difference. Oak and aspen form a distinctive community in Europe on dry sands.

The introduction of tree boxes for bats and nesting birds would increase the local population of hole nesting species and make part of the fauna more noticeable to visitors.


List of plants recorded in 2000

Abies grandis
Agrostis canina
Agrostis capillaris
Anthoxanthum odoratum.
Betula pendula
Betula pubescens
Blechnum spicant
Brachypodium sylvaticum
Cardamine flexuosa
Cardamine hirsuta
Carex remota
Carex sylvatica
Chamaerion angustifolium
Cirsium palustre
Corylus avellana
Cytisus scoparius
Dactylis glomerata
Digitalis purpurea
Dryopteris affinis
Dryopteris dilatata
Dryopteris filix-mas
Fagus sylvatica
Galium aparine
Geranium robertianum
Glechoma hederacea
Gnaphalium uliginosum
Hedera helix
Holcus lanatus
Hyacinthoides non-scriptus
Hypericum androsaemum
Hypericum humifusum
Hypericum pulchrum
Ilex aquifolium
Juncus bufonius
Juncus conglomeratus
Juncus effusus
Lonicera periclymenum
Luzula sylvatica
Lysimachia nemorum
Oxalis acetosella
Pinus radiata
Polypodium vulgare
Polystichum setiferum
Potentilla erecta
Potentilla sterilis
Primula vulgaris
Pteridium aquilinum
Quercus robur
Rubus fruticosus
Rubus idaeus
Sagina procumbens
Salix caprea
Salix cinerea
Sambucus nigra
Scrophularia nodosa
Senecio jacobaea
Sorbus aucuparia
Stachys sylvatica
Stellaria holostea
Teucrium scorodonia
Ulex europaeus
Ulex gallii
Urtica dioica
Veronica chamaedrys
Viola riviniana


Dicranella heteromalla
Eurhynchium praelongum
Eurynchium striatum
Hypnum cupressiforme
Mnium hornum
Polytrichum aloides

Ecological Survey of

White Wood, Camolin, Co. Wexford

Site of a Millennium Forest

Report for Coillte Ltd

October 2000

Roger Goodwillie & Associates
Lavistown House

*Please note that it was not possible to reproduce figures for inclusion on the website version of the reports.