Cullentra, Co. Sligo; Ecological Report

Ecological Assessment of Plans for the Cullentra Wood area, Co. Sligo

Report by: S.A. Wolfe-Murphy

WM Associates
Environmental Consultants
35 Rossmore Avenue
Ormeau Road
Belfast BT7 3 HB

Date: 19/04/01

Ecological Assessment of Plans for the Cullentra Wood area, Co. Sligo


1. 61824K CULLENTRA 6
1.1 Introduction to site and proposed site management plans: 6
1.2 Ecological survey of site: 6
1.3 Assessment of site: 28
1.4 Recommendations on proposed management: 33
2. 61823P I 'TRAWANE SOUTH' 36
2.1 Introduction to site and proposed site management plans: 36
2.2 Ecological survey of site: 36
2.3 Assessment of site: 45
2.4 Recommendations on proposed management: 46
3.1 Introduction to site and proposed site management plans: 47
3.2 Ecological survey of site: 47
3.3 Assessment of site: 57
3.4 Recommendations on proposed management: 57

Acknowledgements 59

References 59


The Millennium Forests Project is an all-Ireland initiative to restore and extend existing native woodlands, and to create new woodlands based upon appropriate native species. The project is intended to stimulate public interest in native woodland development and protection in Ireland.

The Cullentra area is one of 16 woodland sites that have been selected for enhancement, and is divided into three sub-sites.

This study aims to:

· Provide an ecological background to the project at Cullentra by combining existing archive information with new survey.

· Assess the sub-sites in the context of relevant nature conservation legislation

· Provide management advice outlining the options to best enhance the natural history and biodiversity interest of the site.

Fieldwork was conducted between 9th and 11th July 2000. This imposes constraints upon the survey as it is outside the optimum field season for woodlands, for example, Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) was evident only as decomposing webs of leaf material and some dead flower stalks, but some of the stricter vernal geophytes amongst the ground flora may have been underestimated or missed completely.


The main area, Cullentra Wood itself, comprises a sloping long-established Woodland mainly of Oak qualifying as 'Habitats Directive' Annex 1 habitat 41.53, but with a more base-rich area around Bald Rock with Ash/Hazel woodland and alongside the Bonet, a narrow flood terrace of Alder/Ash woodland qualifying as Annex 1 Priority Habitat 44.3. South of the woodland the is a felled Sitka plantation partly replanted with second rotation conifers before the site came into the Millennium Forests Project. The current plan is to remove these conifers and allow natural regeneration instead.

Birch can produce large amounts of seed from a young age and are particularly adept at pioneer establishment on open disturbed sites such as harvested forestry. Thus regeneration is overwhelmingly dominated by Birch and proposed management will result in a very dense birch thicket that will eventually self-thin.

A few small sections of conifers, and conifer groups in broad-leaved woodland edge remain. It is recommended that the felling of conifers is thoroughly completed, although timber need not be removed. For the extant broad-leaved wood along Cullentra, a trial thinning of Birch and Holly in a selected area of the existing wood is also recommended.

Two smaller satellite areas are also included in the plan and therefore the survey. These are both ex-plantations, one currently being harvested and the other completely harvested. These were planted into wet heath, perhaps with scattered Birch and Rowan.

The current plan is to complete felling and to replant with Alder, Birch Ash, Scot's pine and perhaps Oak.

These satellite sites could be managed to regenerate heathland. advise should be sought from Dúchas as to the desirability of planting here.

Assuming that re-afforestation is acceptable, the choice of tree species is considered appropriate if Scot's pine do not form the major component of the planting. Birch will hardly require to be planted as it is regenerating anyway.

Survey and reporting protocol

The areas were surveyed by zigzag walks across the site. Where vegetation quadrats were recorded, these describe the cover of plants within a (usually) 1 x 1m area of vegetation. The 'DOMIN' % cover class is used, as follows:

Domin % cover class

+ = a few individuals 6 = 25-33%
1 = 1-2% 7 = 33-50%
2 = <2% 8 = 50-75%
3 = 2-5% 9 = 75-90%
4 = 5-10% 10 = 90-100%
5 = 10-25%

In describing the status of plant species in a larger area, the qualitative DAFOR scale is sometimes used, where:

D = Dominant
A = Abundant
F = Frequent
O = Occasional
R = Rare

L = Local - to describe patchy distribution within an area.
V = 'very' ( as a prefix)

Tree age classes are not described in detail but assigned to more general classes. Occasionally individual trees have been measured and their diameter at breast height (dbh) is given in cm.

With few exceptions, all Birch surveyed appeared to have the more jagged leaf of Silver birch (Betula pendula), and were recorded as such, but, as the discriminative tests developed by Atkinson and Codling (1986) were not tested on samples of foliage, and all other descriptions refer to Downy birch (Betula pubescens), I have accepted that identification. It should be noted that the taxonomy of Birch with regard to the separation between these species is disputed.

1. 61824K Cullentra

1.1 Introduction to site and proposed site management plans:

Extant broad-leaved woodland occupies the slope up from the shore of Lough Gill between the Bonet River and the Trawane inlet (see photo 1.1 with Inishfree in the mid-distance, and photo 1.2 from the Inishfree car park). This site was included in the original Suite of ASIs for Sligo as 'Bonet River Wood', resurveyed and re-notified as an NHA and included in the pSAC. Another synonym for this site is 'Killerry Oak Wood'.

Most of this woodland is Oak-dominated with and understorey very generally of Birch along the lower slopes, Holly mid-slope, and once again birch upslope, leading into young Birch woodland at the slope top. The understorey is often very dense and particularly for Birch, dominated by a single generation without any sign of regeneration below. Holly may be equally dense but is usually also regenerating.

Beyond the woodland is felled plantation. Several groups of conifers emerge from the upper Birch woodland at the old interface.

The Lough Gill basin lies over calp limestone and shales, whilst the rising land to the south is Moinian schist. On the lake shore, Bald rock is a limestone reef(?) running along the geological boundary. The area around Bald Rock has more base-rich soils that support a wider range of ground flora species, and whilst Hazel is occasional throughout, it increases here to be joined by Ash.

Although re-planting of the felled plantation with conifers is already underway, the current outline plan is to remove these and allow natural regeneration to occur. This in an area defined by the current broad-leaved wood fringe and a forestry track.

An unknown number of deer range across the site. These are not owned by Coillte and the private owner indicates that he will soon organise an estimate of numbers. Photo 1.3 shows one of a pair of deer that were seen. The missing animal in the photo was a much paler colour than the darker animal pictured, whose black tail indicates a Fallow deer, these are also reported elsewhere for the site.

1.2 Ecological survey of site:

Area 1i

Lough Gill has a stony beach some 4 m wide along the front of the woodland (see photos 1.4 and 1.5). At the waterside this is sparsely vegetated with:

Shoreweed (Littorella uniflora) F also submergent off shore
Marsh-marigold (Caltha palustris)
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus)
Reed canary-grass (Phalaris arundinacea) A though sparse
Marsh pennywort (Hydrocotyle vulgaris) LF
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) R
Water plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica) R

There is little by way of emergent swamp except patches of Common bulrush (Schoenoplectus lacustris) and Common spike-rush (Eleocharis palustris) at the Bonet mouth. Behind this front zone the vegetation is a little more dense often with Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) or Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria):

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) F
Water mint (Mentha aquatica) F
Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) F
Lesser spearwort (Ranunculus flammula) O
Meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis) VLF
Marsh ragwort (Senecio aquaticus)
Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata)
Common sedge (Carex nigra) OLF
Remote sedge (Carex remota) O
Tufted-sedge (Carex elata) R
Colt's-foot (Tussilago farfara) VLF
a moss (Brachythecium albicans) LO

Rocks where they occur, with the moss (Cinclidotus fontinaloides) and up shore, another moss (Climacium dendroides).

Area 1ii

As the stony beach of the south shore of Lough Gill turns into the Bonet River side, it becomes quickly colonised by Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia) and Alder (Alnus glutinosa) (plus a single White willow (Salix alba)), and the stones become overlain by a peaty silt, loose at first but consolidating upstream (see photos 1.6 and 1.7).

The vegetation below and between the wetland trees is sparse, of:

Reed canary-grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
Water mint (Mentha aquatica)
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
Amphibious bistort (Persicaria amphibia)
Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera)
Remote sedge (Carex remota)
Marsh ragwort (Senecio aquaticus)
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) R
Wood dock (Rumex sanguineus)
a liverwort (Trichocolea tomentella)

At the mouth of the Bonet, the woodland behind the shoreline fringe is typical the upper canopy ± 50% mature Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) and 50% sub-mature Downy birch (Betula pubescens), but with scattered mature Alder (Alnus glutinosa). The sub-canopy here:

Downy birch (Betula pubescens) F
Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) R rare sapling
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) F-A
Sorbus aucuparia O

spp. Q1

Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) 8
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) 3
Ivy (Hedera helix) 3
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) 4
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) 3?
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) 2
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) 4
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) 2
Bramble (Rubus agg.) 2
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) 4
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 4
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) 6
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) seedling 1
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 3
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus loreus) 3
a moss (Thamnobryum alopecurum) 5

Further down the Bonet, alongside Area 6, the inundation area widens considerably, to 15 + m. The silt platform elevated some 65 cm above the river level at time of survey (± normal summer level).

Occasional mature Oak to 50 cm dbh are present (field notes identify Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) but this may be an error).

Other trees encountered in a transect:

dbh (cm)

Alder (Alnus glutinosa) 35 35 24 22 50
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) 24 12 32 20 10 6
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) 6 9 1
Goat willow (Salix caprea) 30
Corylus avellana 3 3 3
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) 1 3

This cover is clearly dominated by Alder and Ash, with Alder the more mature species.

The ground flora here:

Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) F-A
Remote sedge (Carex remota) F-A
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) LF
a moss (Thamnobryum alopecurum) LF
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) LF
Wood dock (Rumex sanguineus)
Wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris)
Nipplewort (Lapsana communis)
Yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus)
Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis)
Hedge woundwort (Stachys sylvatica)
Hemlock water-dropwort (Oenanthe crocata)
Intermediate polypody (Polypodium interjectum) epiphyte
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) seedling
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa)

Further upstream again the level wooded river terrace widens again. Mature Oak become frequent, there are occasional mature Alder (Alnus glutinosa) and between the mature trees, a sub-canopy (See photo 1.8):

Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) saplings O
Hazel (Corylus avellana) F
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) F
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) O

Area 1iii

A representative ± 25 m x 25 m sample was described further east and 55 m from the river. Both Holly and Hazel having been lost (see photo 1.9):

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) R 60
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) O-F 30 F
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) F-A 55 O R
Alder (Alnus glutinosa) O 44
Rusty willow (Salix cinerea)* R 26
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) R
Yew (Taxus baccata) R
* mature and fallen

This is rather a transition state between the sloping acid oak woodland and the fringing Alder/Ash woodland - also reflected in the ground flora, which has ± 40% Remote sedge (Carex remota) cover, also much bare soil - to 50%:

Species table:
spp. quadrat
1 2 3

Remote sedge (Carex remota) 9 8 5
Ivy (Hedera helix) 4 2 4
Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) 4 4 3
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) seedling 1 2
a moss (Eurhynchium praelongum) 2 3
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 3
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) 2
Bramble (Rubus agg.) seedling 1
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 4
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) seedling 1
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) 1
a moss (Eurhynchium praelongum) 2 3
a liverwort (Aneura pinguis ) 1
Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis) 3
Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa) 1
a moss (Plagiomnium rostratum) 2

Other species:
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) R
Meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris) R
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) VLF
Soft shield-fern (Polystichum setiferum) R
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) LF
Sanicle (Sanicula europaea) R
a moss (Eurhynchium striatum) LF
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) LO
a moss (Thamnobryum alopecurum) LF
Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) LF

In places Carex remota forms ± monospecific stands at Domin 10.

Area 2

The western section the woodland sloping up from the Lough Gill shore. Little (1994) records the soils in this area as podsolised.

At the slope top (see photo 1.10 from felled area), an upper zone is under dense young Downy birch (Betula pubescens) mostly 10 - 15 cm dbh, but without mature Oak, This is fairly consistent at the edge of the felled compartment:

A representative 25 x 25 m plot was assessed (see photo 1.11):

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Downy birch (Betula pubescens) O 20 A
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) 8 F
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) LF 16(45) LF LF
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) 18 O O
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) O
Hazel (Corylus avellana) O
Rhododendron (R. ponticum) R

Apart from the Douglas fir, there are a few Common silver fir (Abies alba) in the broad-leaved cover. Ground flora. Q3 recorded beneath a conifer group:

spp. quadrat
1 2 3

a moss (Rhytidiadelphus loreus) 9 9 5
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) 6+ 3?
A moss (Eurhynchium praelongum) 4 3
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) 1
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 6 5 3
a liverwort (Lophocolea bidentata) 3 3
a liverwort (Saccogyna viticulosa) 3 3
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) 1 3 3
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) seedling 1 1
Bramble (Rubus agg.) 1 1
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus) 4 2
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) 1
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus loreus) 5
a moss (Hylocomium splendens) 1 3
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) 3 5
Ivy (Hedera helix) 6
a moss (Dicranum scoparium) 1
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) 1

bare (%) <5 <5 40

Other species:
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) LR
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) VLO
Hay-scented buckler-fern (Dryopteris aemula) O

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) appears to be patchy here.

The lower slopes are Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) dominated, with a top canopy cover of 80% contributed by trees in the dbh range 60-80 cm. Holly (Ilex aquifolium) is equally dominant in the shrub canopy with ± 85% cover of saplings in the range 3 - 10 cm dbh. Other tree species with insignificant cover.

The ground flora below the Holly is suppressed:

Hay-scented buckler-fern (Dryopteris aemula) LF
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) O
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) F
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) F
a moss (Eurhynchium praelongum) O
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) R
a moss (Mnium hornum) VLF
Pignut (Conopodium majus) R
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) R
a moss (Polytrichum formosum) R

For the final 15-20 before the lake shore, Holly remains abundant but is joined by Downy birch (Betula pubescens) mainly in the 10 - 15 cm dbh range (see photo 1.12). An inconspicuous liverwort Cephaloziella divaricata was recorded here behind the shoreline and may be frequent in this situation.

Additional species associated with the track but not generally elsewhere in site:

Glaucous sedge (Carex flacca)
Greater plantain (Plantago major)
Smooth sow-thistle (Sonchus oleraceus)
Gorse (Ulex europaeus)
Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Field horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
Smooth hawk's-beard (Crepis capillaris)
Hoary willowherb (Epilobium parviflorum)
Common mouse-ear (Cerastium fontanum)
Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca)
Germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys)
Colt's-foot (Tussilago farfara)
Common spotted-orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)
Red clover (Trifolium pratense)
White clover (Trifolium repens)
Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris/)

The woodland fringe along the Lough Gill shore is interesting. Undifferentiated Oak woodland leads down to a narrow (usually 1 tree width) zone of mixed species:

Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia) LF
Alder (Alnus glutinosa) A
Wych elm (Ulmus glabra)
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)
Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus)
Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) east of Bald rock only
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) undershrub

The moss Thamnobryum alopecurum is normally frequent below. The narrow zone does not afford much of a niche for shade-adapted species, none the less, some of these are typical at this edge but hardly occur elsewhere in the wood. These designated 'shore' species:

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) O shore
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) shore
Primrose (Primula vulgaris) shore
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) shore
Twayblade (Listera ovata) shore
Colt's-foot (Tussilago farfara) not a shade sp.
Tufted vetch (Vicia cracca) not a shade sp.
Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa)
Pignut (Conopodium majus) shore
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana)
Sanicle (Sanicula europaea)
a moss (Climacium dendroides)
a moss (Plagiomnium undulatum)
a moss (Diplophyllum albicans)
a liverwort (Trichocolea tomentella)

This indicates calcium enrichment (although Diplophyllum albicans is unusual being associated with Plagiomnium undulatum). The shoreline runs just inside the geological boundary between the schists to the south and the lower limestone to the north. In the area around Bald rock, underlying limestone geology affects the woodland ground flora, around the rest of the shore, it may be inundation with comparatively calcium-rich lake water that has an influence. The woodland edge is strewn with washed-up litter, so it must periodically get inundated.

To the west the base status seem more complex again, with a sporadic although constant zone between the beach and the fringing trees of Bog-myrtle (Myrica gale) and Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea), with a few species of base-rich wetlands (indicated as 'base-rich'):

Water mint (Mentha aquatica)
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus)
Tufted vetch (Vicia cracca)
Marsh ragwort (Senecio aquaticus)
Wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris)
Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera)
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum)
Marsh bedstraw (Galium palustre)
Ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata)
a moss (Thamnobryum alopecurum)
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum)
a moss (Calliergon cuspidatum)
Brookweed (Samolus valerandi) LO base-rich
Marsh speedwell (Veronica scutellata) LO
Black bog-rush (Schoenus nigricans) LF base-rich
Tufted-sedge (Carex elata) R base-rich
Fool's water-cress (Apium nodiflorum)
Tufted forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa)
Yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris) LF base-rich
Marsh Horsetail (Equisetum palustre)
Hemlock water-dropwort (Oenanthe crocata)

Area 2ii

Photo 1.13 is taken along an old wall within the woodland area. Here, Downy birch (Betula pubescens) contributes about 70% cover, with 2 distinct generations, mature trees around 30 cm dbh and young trees around 12 cm dbh:

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Downy birch (Betula pubescens) F 30 A
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) 10 OLA OLA O
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) 9 O
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) 10 R R
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) LF 40 LO LO
Hazel (Corylus avellana) F

Below the wall the gradient increases. Initially the tree mix remains similar, but downslope, mature Oak are recruited and become dominant towards the lake.

Photo 1.14 is of the crowded Birch and Holly, and 1.15 detail of a Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) dominated ground flora.

Typical ground flora:

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 4 8 4 7 7 V
Ivy (Hedera helix) 1 4 3 4 4 V
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) 7 1 8 7 IV
a moss (Thamnobryum alopecurum) 4 5 3 4 IV
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) 2 3 2 3 IV
a moss (Eurhynchium praelongum) 3 2 3 3 IV
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) 4 3 3 III
a moss (Hylocomium splendens) 2 3 3 III
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) 1 4 1 III
Hay-scented buckler-fern (Dryopteris aemula) 3 3 3 III
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus loreus) 1 3 II
a moss (Polytrichum formosum) 3 3 II
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) 3 3 II
a moss (Mnium hornum) 4 4 II
a liverwort (Plagiochila asplenioides) 1 I
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) 1 I
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) seedling 1 I
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) 3 I
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) 3 I
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) seedling 1 I
Wavy hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa) 1 I

Area 3

Bald rock is a steep cliff above the shore visible from the lake. This is the truncated end of a linear limestone cliff heading at 95° inland (i.e. away from the shore at a narrow angle) becoming less and less tall as it heads inland, eventually petering out some 30 m in from the shore and defining a narrow wedge of steep sloping woodland between the cliff and the shore. At the shore side, the rock face is largely bare, with:

Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
Red fescue (Festuca rubra)
Maidenhair spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes)
Common knapweed (Centaurea nigra)
Wood sage (Teucrium scorodonia)
Navelwort (Umbilicus rupestris)
False oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius) LF @ base of cliff
Hawkweed (Hieracium cf. duriceps) not conf.
White stonecrop (Sedum album)

The area below the cliff is Hazel (Corylus avellana) dominated

Hazel (Corylus avellana) A
Elder (Sambucus nigra) R
Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) O
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) R
Goat willow (Salix caprea) R
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) O

a moss (Thamnobryum alopecurum) A
Sanicle (Sanicula europaea) F
Soft shield-fern (Polystichum setiferum) F
a moss (Plagiomnium undulatum) F
a moss (Eurhynchium striatum) F
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) F
Hybrid enchanter's nightshade (Circaea x intermedia) LF
Ransoms (Allium ursinum) F
Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa)
Bugle (Ajuga reptans)
Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum)
Giant fescue (Festuca gigantea) O
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum)
False oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius)
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) LF
Barren strawberry (Potentilla sterilis)
Wood melick (Melica uniflora) LO
Twayblade (Listera ovata)
Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca)
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana)
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica)
Stone bramble (Rubus saxatile)
Woodruff (Galium odoratum) LO
Southern polypody (Polypodium australe) R epiphytic
a moss (Ulota crispa) epiphytic
a moss (Dicranoweisia cirrata) epiphytic

The mosses Thamnobryum alopecurum and Thuidium tamariscinum are abundant at the cliff base. Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) saplings ascent the inland part of the cliff which is Ivy festooned. Yew (Taxus baccata) are frequent at the cliff top, not below, with a light Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) cover, some Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus) and a single Crab apple (Malus sylvestris), this was recorded as M. domestica by D. and R. Cotton, but the underside of sampled leaves were sparsely pubescent on the veins only, indicating the Crab.

The calcium influence extends back from the Bald Rock cliff over a low domed hill to the south where Cotton (1994) records brown earth soils, with species also occurring along the more base-rich shoreline fringe being found in the ground flora here (see photo 1.16), plus:

Wood sage (Teucrium scorodonia)
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa)
Barren strawberry (Potentilla sterilis)
Bird's-nest orchid (Neottia nidus-avis) LR
Devil's-bit scabious (Succisa pratensis)
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum)
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum)
Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Stone bramble (Rubus saxatile)
Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum)
Twayblade (Listera ovata)
Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa)
Pignut (Conopodium majus)

Upslope inshore the ground slopes up behind the cliff - the calcium influence is still clear:

The canopy is a low shrub canopy 80% of Hazel (Corylus avellana), the remainder of Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), Holly (Ilex aquifolium) and Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), with rare Yew (Taxus baccata) and Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus). Emerging from this canopy, sometimes frequent, Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) reach a dbh of 16 cm.

The calcium influence is also clear in the ground flora:

Species table:
spp. quadrat
1 2 3

a moss (Rhytidiadelphus loreus) 8 8 7
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 5 4 3
a moss (Eurhynchium striatum) 3 4 3
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) 4 5 5
Primrose (Primula vulgaris) 2 3 1
False brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) 3 4 3
a moss (Plagiomnium undulatum) 2 1 1
Devil's-bit scabious (Succisa pratensis) 2 3 4
Ivy (Hedera helix) 4 6 1
Sanicle (Sanicula europaea) 3 4 3
Fraxinus excelsior seedling 1 1 1
a moss (Fissidens taxifolius) 1 1 1
Glaucous sedge (Carex flacca) 1 2 1
Bramble (Rubus agg.) seedling 1 3
a moss (Pseudoscleropodium purum) 3 1
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) 3 5
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) 1 2
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 3
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) 1
a moss (Polytrichum formosum) 1
Red fescue (Festuca rubra) 1
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) seedling 1
Twayblade (Listera ovata) 2
Barren strawberry (Potentilla sterilis) 3
a liverwort (Metzgeria furcata) 1

Other species:
Common spotted-orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) LO
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) O
Wood speedwell (Veronica montana) LF
Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) R
Pignut (Conopodium majus) O
Wood sage (Teucrium scorodonia) O
Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa) LO
Hart's-tongue (Phyllitis scolopendrium) R
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) OLF
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) R
Lords-and-ladies (Arum maculatum) R
Ransoms (Allium ursinum) LF

Rocky areas characteristically with the moss (Thamnobryum alopecurum), Ivy (Hedera helix) and Hart's-tongue (Phyllitis scolopendrium).

With distance from the cliff, Hawthorn is lost, Hazel declines in dominance, Fraxinus excelsior increases in stature and frequency and Holly remains important (see photo 1.17). By the level top of the domed hill, Ash dominate an upper canopy, mainly to 28 cm dbh but with occasional more mature specimens to 50 cm. A few groups of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) are inter-planted, groups of mature Downy birch (Betula pubescens) also occur. Hazel remains frequent as a sub canopy. Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) is more frequent on the ground:

spp. quadrat
1 2

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) 8? 7?
Primrose (Primula vulgaris) 4 2
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 6 9
Pignut (Conopodium majus) 3 3
Barren strawberry (Potentilla sterilis) 3
Ransoms (Allium ursinum) 7?
Ivy (Hedera helix) 3 5
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) seedling 3 2
a moss (Thamnobryum alopecurum) 6 6
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus loreus) 5 4
Wood speedwell (Veronica montana) 2 3
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 3 6
Lords-and-ladies (Arum maculatum) 1
a moss (Plagiomnium undulatum) 1 2
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) 1 3
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) 2
Sanicle (Sanicula europaea) 1
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) 1
Hart's-tongue (Phyllitis scolopendrium) 1
a moss (Dicranum scoparium) 1

Area 4

The old wall that is marked on the OS 6" base map is still evident (see photo 1.18). It also marks an ecological boundary between the comparatively base-rich woodland behind Bald rock, with practically no Oak, and a return to the normal, leached, base-poor soils and Oak woodland. Ash declines abruptly at the wall, to the east occurring rarely, and only to 16 cm dbh. Hazel (Corylus avellana) declines much more gradually and is progressively replaced by Holly (Ilex aquifolium) to the east.

Mature Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) to 70 cm dbh are frequent, but barely form a closed canopy. Downy birch (Betula pubescens) to 18 cm, although mainly <10 cm dbh,, and young Holly to 10 cm dbh vie with each other for dominance below. Hazel remain present and Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) occasional. Holly forms a dense understorey to the virtual exclusion of other shrubs for surprisingly large patches e.g. see photo 1.19 where the whitish stems are all holly. The ground flora below dense Holly is suppressed, bare, or sparse Ivy (Hedera helix) at best amongst a durable leaf litter.

Area 5

Transition woodland, still with Oak the principal species, but the dominance of Downy birch (Betula pubescens) saplings as the sub-layer shrub is challenged by Hazel (Corylus avellana). Locally elevated and well-drained with Hazel abundant in places, some mature (see photo 1.20), and occasional Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) to 17 cm dbh.

The bryophyte flora is similar to the Silver birch/Oak areas but is joined by:

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) A
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) F
Pignut (Conopodium majus) O-F
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) F-A
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) O
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) F
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) F
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) LF increases to west
Sanicle (Sanicula europaea)
Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus)
Devil's-bit scabious (Succisa pratensis)
Northern hawk's-beard (Crepis paludosa) wet flush
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) VLF

Between the two tracks that penetrate the woodland here, the western-most track is above the eastern track and the land falls very steeply (35 - 40°) between them. Often it is wet and flushed with very soft wet soil:

Devil's-bit scabious (Succisa pratensis)
Hybrid horsetail (Equisetum x littorale)
Northern hawk's-beard (Crepis paludosa) VLF
Bugle (Ajuga reptans)
Remote sedge (Carex remota)

The track to the east runs down to the lake shore where the only records for Opposite-leaved golden-saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium) and for Montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) were made. From the end of the track a sweep inland at a bearing of about 320° after ± 60 m leads to the upper path to join it at the edge of the felled compartment. The woodland between is dry underfoot and not sloping at more than 20°. A small amount of litter suggests informal use as an inter-joining path.

Area 6

Mature, Oak-dominated woodland, sloping at ± 25 ° to the north-east (see photo 1.21). The trees and shrubs in a representative area ± 25 m x 25 m were recorded:

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) F 60 R R R
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) 12 F LF
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) 12 O
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) 16 F A
Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) R
Hazel (Corylus avellana) R

The density of Birch whips is striking (see photos 1.22 and 1.23), these < 10 cm, mainly around 6-8 cm.

A few tall Sitka remain at the edge of the area alongside the track.

Five 1 x 1 quadrats was recorded to describe the ground flora:

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

Ivy (Hedera helix) 3 2 3 3 3 V
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 5 7 5 5 IV
a moss (Eurhynchium praelongum) 5 3 3 3 IV
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) 4 3 4 III
a moss (Dicranum majus) 4 2 4 III
a moss (Hookeria lucens) 2 3 3 III
a moss (Mnium hornum) 3 3 3 III
a moss (Hylocomium splendens) 2 2 3 III
a moss (Polytrichum formosum) 3 1 II
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus loreus) 3 3 II
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) 5 I
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) 4 I
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus loreus) 5 I
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) 3 I
a liverwort (Saccogyna viticulosa) 3 3 3 3 IV
a liverwort (Calypogeia muellerana) 2 2 2 III

Other species:
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) VLF
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) O
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) VLA
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) R
Hay-scented buckler-fern (Dryopteris aemula) O-F
a moss (Drepanocladus fluitans)
a moss (Dicranum majus)
a moss (Hookeria lucens)

In places local flushing introduces a liverwort Pellia epiphylla, and very locally Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa), with increased representation of the a moss (Hookeria lucens) and Remote sedge (Carex remota).

Area 7

Two wedges of conifers

Area 7i

The trees and shrubs in a representative area ± 25 m x 25 m were recorded (see photo 1.24):

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) O 75 F
Beech (Fagus sylvatica) 13 R
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) 20 F
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) 14 O
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) A 30(49) O
Sorbus aucuparia 12 R
Hazel (Corylus avellana) R
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) O LF

The lack of seedlings is notable. The Fir are tall so the crowded broad-leaved species with suppressed lower branches appear even more 'leggy'.

There is a single ground flora type as described below:

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) p 8 8 9 8 V
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) 4 1 3 III
a liverwort (Lophocolea bidentata) 6 4 6 5 6 V
Ivy (Hedera helix) 4 5 3 3 7 V
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 8 7 5 6 3 V
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) 1 3 II
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) 3 1 1 3 IV
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) seedling 2 2 II
Bramble (Rubus agg.) 3 1 5 III
Eurhynchium praelongum 3 3 II
a moss (Hylocomium splendens) 4 4 II
a moss (Mnium hornum) 4 5 4 III
Heath wood-rush (Luzula multiflora) 1 I
a moss (Polytrichum formosum) 3 I

Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) LO
Remote sedge (Carex remota) R
Hypnum cupressiforme F on tree bases
Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia) R
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) R

Area 7ii

The second area to the west is similar, but with a more gradual transition as Downy birch (Betula pubescens) have penetrated the coniferous cover at the edges (see photo 1.25).

Area 8

Sloping up from the Bonnet Flood terrace at 15 - 25 °. Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) with a dbh to 60 cm occupy 70% of the top canopy, with spindly Downy birch (Betula pubescens) to 16 cm, contributing another 20% cover. The shrub layer is mainly of dense Holly (Ilex aquifolium) saplings with 60 - 70% cover. A few young Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) mainly at the top edge close to the track.

The ground flora is typical of the Oak areas:

a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) A
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) O-F
a moss (Eurhynchium praelongum) O
a moss (Hylocomium splendens) F
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) O
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) LF
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) O-F
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) F
Ivy (Hedera helix) F
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) O-F
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) O
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) LF

Area 9

The westernmost area of Oak-dominated woodland. The tree and shrub layer in a representative area ± 25 m x 25 m were recorded (see photo 1.26):

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) A 65 LO
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) 9 A O LF
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) 12 O O
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) 17 F
Rusty willow (Salix cinerea) R 18
Hazel (Corylus avellana) R
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) 19 O

The ground flora:

a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) A
Ivy (Hedera helix) F although sparse
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) F
a moss (Eurhynchium praelongum) F
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) LF
A liverwort (Saccogyna viticulosa) F
a liverwort (Lophocolea bidentata) F
a moss (Mnium hornum) F
a moss (Eurhynchium striatum) O

Bryophyte cover varies from 20-60%.

Old ditches, marked on the OS base map are evident on the ground as wet areas with indistinct elevated embankments. Additional species associated with them:

Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) R
a moss (Polytrichum formosum) F
a Sphagnum moss (S. subnitens) LF
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) R
a Sphagnum moss (S. palustre) R
Floating sweet-grass (Glyceria fluitans)
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus)
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus)
Star sedge (Carex echinata)
Green-ribbed sedge (Carex binervis)

Area 10

Small cleared conifer (Douglas or Sitka?) plantation now replanted with a second rotation crop. This is a relatively low-lying plantation on the Bonet flood terrace. Photo 1.27 shows the Oak woodland of Area 8 rising from the felled area.

The process of harvesting appears to have required a renovation of the drainage system, new-looking drains area still flowing actively. A large quantity of brashings remain on site.

Heather (Calluna vulgaris) F-A
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) F-A
Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) F
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) LA ditches
a moss (Polytrichum formosum) LF
a moss (Campylopus pyriformis) LF
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) seedlings O-F
Star sedge (Carex echinata) O-F
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) O-F
Bramble (Rubus agg.) OLF
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) OLF
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) O
Cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix) O
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) O
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) O
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) O
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) O
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) seedling R
Common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) R
Field wood-rush (Luzula campestris) R
Common yellow-sedge (Carex viridula ssp. oedocarpa) R
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) R
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) R
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) LR
A moss (Neckera pumila) ?

Photo 1.28 provides detail of the vegetation cover here,

Area 11

The largest of the felled compartments, previously under Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) planted into ridges (see photo 1.29). The stone wall across the area were dismantled prior to the ridging operation (but are still evident in the flanking wood). Peat substrate with a maximum depth of ± 40 cm. The second rotation crop already planted includes Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris), European larch (Larix decidua) and Siberian spruce (Picea obovata) (as Norway spruce (Picea abies)?) as well as the mainstay Sitka.

Heather (Calluna vulgaris) is the predominant species of the recovering ground cover, occupying the better-drained ridges on which the former crop was grown (see photo 1.30). Between the ridges, manly bare peat or dead Sphagnum moss (S. capillifolium), presumably having established soon after felling, and dried out with the summer drought, sometimes with the moss (Campylopus pyriformis).

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

Heather (Calluna vulgaris) 6 7 7 9 7 V
Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) 3 4 4 1 IV
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) seedling 1 1 1 1 IV
Cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix) 1 2 2 3 IV
Hare's-tail cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum) 4 4 3 III
a moss (Campylopus pyriformis) 4 2 1 III
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) 7 3 II
Deergrass (Trichophorum cespitosum) 2 4 II
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) 5 3 II
a moss (Polytrichum commune) 2 4 II
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) 4 I
Heath rush (Juncus squarrosus) 1 I
Slender St John's-wort (Hypericum pulchrum) 2 I
Green-ribbed sedge (Carex binervis) 2 I
Sheep's sorrel (Rumex acetosella) 1 I
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) 3 I
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) 3 I
a Sphagnum moss (S. capillifolium) 5 I
Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) 1 I
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) I

Bare soil % 30 50 50 10 15

Additional species:
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) sapling R
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) LO
Bramble (Rubus agg.) LF
Star sedge (Carex echinata) R
Bell heather (Erica cinerea) R
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) R
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) R
Cat's-ear (Hypochoeris radicata) R
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) O
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) seedling R
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) seedling R
a moss (Polygonatum aloides) LO
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) seedlings O
Ivy (Hedera helix) R
Wavy hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa) VLF
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) VLF
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum)
a moss (Eurhynchium striatum)

There is an overwhelming dominance of Downy birch (Betula pubescens) in the suite of re-establishing trees and shrubs. As a semi-objective test, these were counted whilst walking one ridge, and monitoring the ridge to either side - the results are given in table 1.

Table 1: number of seedlings or young saplings counted on any of 3 planting ridges in successive intervals of 40 paces.

Species sets of 40 paces
1 2 3 4

Downy birch (Betula pubescens) 18 25 18 21
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) 1
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) 1
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) 2 1 1
Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum) 1

In places the Downy birch are more advanced, to 3m tall, possibly in old wind throw areas. Bramble (Rubus agg.) generally becomes frequent at the remaining woodland fringe (see photo 1.31). Very rarely the re-establishing saplings have been subject to bark-stripping (see photo 1.32) but deer are by no means inhibiting the generation of trees.

Area 12

At the edge of the cleared section is a local unharvested Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) patch where the trees are wind thrown and lying awkwardly, making extraction problematical (see photo 1.33). Heather (Calluna vulgaris) is still establishing in the gaps:

Holly (Ilex aquifolium) saplings O
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) saplings F
young Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) R
young Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) R
young Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris) O
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) FLA
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) F-A
Bramble (Rubus agg.) LF
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)
a liverwort (Plagiochila asplenioides)
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris)
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) LO
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus)
Wavy hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa) LO
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) LF

Area 13

Young broad-leaved woodland (see photo 1.34 foreground):

Species Mature (max dbh) young sapling seedling

Downy birch (Betula pubescens) F-A 25
Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris) O 40 F
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) F
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) VR O
Ilex aquifolium F FLA LA
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) O
Hazel (Corylus avellana) R
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) 25 LF
Rusty willow (Salix cinerea) VLF

The mature Oak are mainly at the track side.

The ground flora comprises the following species:

a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) A
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) O
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) O
Ivy (Hedera helix) O
Pendulous sedge (Carex pendula) R
Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) R
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) R
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) O
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) O
Hay-scented buckler-fern (Dryopteris aemula) O-F
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) R
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) LF

Area 14

Forestry compartment 6. This has been harvested. It is not currently a part of the Millennium replanting project (see photo 1.34 foreground).

Felled area:

Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) O
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) F-A
Broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius) LA
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) FLA
Hare's-tail cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum) O
Star sedge (Carex echinata) O
Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) OLA
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) O
Meadow foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis) LO
a Sphagnum moss (S. palustre) LF ditch
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Sheep's sorrel (Rumex acetosella)
Green-ribbed sedge (Carex binervis)
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant)
Hay-scented buckler-fern (Dryopteris aemula)
Heath wood-rush (Luzula multiflora)
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) F at edge

Area 15

Dense, dark commercial plantation of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis). The range of dbh is 15-38 cm. Leggy saplings of Downy birch (Betula pubescens) are rare.

The ground flora is practically suppressed (see photos 1.35 from track and 1.36 in open of the more open areas inside the plantation):

a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) F
Ivy (Hedera helix) R
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) F


Irish hare
Fallow deer

For most of the survey, up to 8 Common tern were feeding in Trawane Bay with Black-headed gulls.
A very few other birds were noted:


1.3 Assessment of site:

There is paleological evidence cited in Little (1994) that the general area was dominated by mixed woodland, albeit with patchy heathland, until 600 years ago when wholesale clearance was a precursor to widespread heathland development. Less accessible and less agriculturally useful areas may have retained primary cover or may have recovered woodland long enough ago to be categorised as 'ancient'.

Early mapping suggests that this is not the case for the woodland west of Bald Rock. But that to the east at least, the woodland is at least 160 years old. There is however little evidence on the ground to suggest that the woodland to either side of the Rock is of different antiquity.

Reproduction of the First edition 6" map published the 1840s from Little (1994) showing the positions of two soil profiles.

'Cullentra shoreline' is included in the SAC as 41.53 Old oak woods with Ilex and Blechnum in the British Isles. The lack of regeneration and inter-planting with conifers are noted as a general threat to such woods in the Lough Gill pSAC.

The extant woodland area is referable to Braun Blanquet and Tüxens Blechno-Quercetum petraeae sub association Coryletosum (White and Doyle 1981), and in the National Vegetation Classification (Rodwell 1991) based on samples from England, Scotland and Wales to either W17 Quercus petraea-Betula pubescens-Dicranum majus woodland, W16 Quercus spp.-Betula spp.-Deschampsia flexuosa woodland or W11 Quercus petraea-Betula pubescens-Oxalis acetosella woodland.

Tables presented in Rodwell (1991) allow a comparison of these three communities with Cullentra:

Table 2 Species with a constancy > 40% in any of the Quercus petraea/Betula pubescens/pubescens woodland sub-communities (from Rodwell 1991), compared with estimates of constant species in Cullentra:

11a 11b 11c 11d 16a 16b 17a 17b 17c 17d Est.C'tra

Betula pendula 3 3 5 3
Betula pubescens 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 4 5
Corylus avellana 3 3 3 3
Ilex aquifolium 5
Quercus petraea 5 5 5 5 5
Quercus robur 3
Sorbus aucuparia 4 3 3 3 3


Agrostis capillaris 4 4 4 5 5
Anemone nemorosa 4
Anthoxanthum odoratum 4 5 5 5 4
Blechnum spicant 5 3 3
Deschampsia flexuosa 4 4 5 3 5 4 5 3 5
Dryopteris aemula 4
Dryopteris dilatata 3 3 3
Festuca ovina 3
Galium saxatile 3 4 5 4 4 4
Hedera helix 4
Holcus mollis 3 3 4 5 3
Hyacinthoides non-scripta 3 4
Hypericum pulchrum 3
Lonicera periclymenum 3 3
Luzula pilosa 4
Luzula sylvatica 3
Oxalis acetosella 4 5 4 5 3 4 3 4
Potentilla erecta 5 4 3
Primula vulgaris 3
Pteridium aquilinum 3 4 4 4 3 3 3 4 3
Rubus agg. 3 3
Teucrium scorodonia 3
Thelypteris limbosperma 3
Trientalis europaea 3
Vaccinium myrtillus 3 3 4 5 3
Veronica chamaedrys 3 5
Veronica officinalis 3
Viola riviniana 4 5 5 3


Bazzania trilobata 3
Campylopus paradoxus 3
Dicranum majus 5 3 5 5 3 3 3
Dicranum scoparium 4 3 3 3 3
Diplophyllum albicans 4
Eurhynchium praelongum 3 3 3
Hylocomium splendens 4 5 4 5 3 3 5 4
Hypnum cupressiforme 3 3 3 3
Hypnum jutlandicum 3
Isothecium myosuroides 3 4
Lepidozia reptans 3
Leucobryum glaucum 3
Lophocolea bidentata 3 4 3 3 3
Mnium hornum 3 3 4 4 3 4
Plagiochila spinulosa 3
Plagiomnium undulatum 4
Plagiothecium undulatum 4 3 4 4
Pleurozium schreberi 4 3 4 4 5
Polytrichum formosum 3 4 5 4 5 3 3
Pseudoscleropodium purum 3 4 5 3
Rhytidiadelphus loreus 3 5 4 5 3 3
Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus 3 4 3 5
Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus 4 4 3 3
Scapania gracilis 3
Thuidium delicatulum 3
Thuidium tamariscinum 5 5 4 3 3 3 5

total constant spp 22 26 22 21 2 7 26 18 18 16
Total 'hits' 9 11 7 7 0 4 14 14 12 11

hits/total * 10 41 42 32 33 0 57 54 78 67 69

It should be stressed that the Cullentra data in this table is based upon estimates and is not a statistical construction. Different sample sizes used in this survey and in the NVC preclude this.

A few points can be made:

The synecology of Cullentra is complex, it conforms better with W17 Quercus petraea-Betula pubescens-Dicranum majus woodland but even disregarding the transition to the more base-rich area around Bald Rock, several Sub-communities may occur. The best fit appears to be b, the typical Sub-community.

Unexpected species occurring here as constants include Holly (Ilex aquifolium), Ivy (Hedera helix), Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) and Hay-scented buckler-fern (Dryopteris aemula). This may be due to real national biogeographical differences between Ireland and 'mainland Britain', or may be an idiosyncratic feature of Cullentra.

Surprising absentees include Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) and Wavy hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa). Both these species occur in more open habitats, around the wood, but very rarely inside it, and it is assumed that the dense generation of a Birch and/or Holly understorey has excluded these species. This may explain the general lack of any 'grassy' ground cover.

The woodland area alongside the Bonet River are included in the SAC as the Priority Habitat 44.3. Alluvial Forests although the area is estimated at 0.5 ha as compared with ± 15 ha beside the Garavogue River.

The species recorded here confirm the habitat identity:

44.3 Species Status by the Bonet

Tree layer

Alnus glutinosa F
Fraxinus excelsior F
Betula pubescens F
Ulmus glabra -

Salix fragilis non-native
Salix alba non-native
Populus nigra non-native
Alnus incanae non-native

Herb layer

Angelica sylvestris O
Cardamine armara -
Cardamine pratensis R
Carex acutiformis -
Carex pendula - (occasional elsewhere)
Carex remota A
Carex strigosa -
Carex sylvatica O
Equisetum telmateia -
Filipendula ulmaria F
Geranium sylvaticum -
Geum rivale -
Lycopus europaeus -
Lysimachia nemorum -
Rumex sanguineus R
Urtica dioica -

Cirsium oleraceum non-native
Stellaria nemorum non-native

A few rare or notable plant species recorded in woods along the southern shore of Lough Gill contribute to the importance of the NHA/SAC. Many of these records date back to R.L. Praeger.

Some of these are referable to Slish Wood, a separate site. Specifically in Cullentra, Rock whitebeam (Sorbus rupicola) has been recorded above Bald Rock. A Whitebeam was identified above Bald Rock as recently as 1993 by D and R. Cotton but despite intensive searching was not found in 2000.

Bird's-nest orchid (Neottia nidus-avis) was confirmed from above Bald Rock but is scarce, only 2 spikes were recorded and these from the same place.

Goldilocks buttercup (Ranunculus auricomus) has also been recorded behind Bald Rock, again by the Cottons, most recently in 1996. The 2000 survey was too late in the year to reconfirm that species.

Tonbridge filmy-fern (Hymenophyllum tunbrigense) has been recorded on fallen conifers, and unless it is particularly frequent, would be difficult to re-find here.

1.4 Recommendations on proposed management:

· The proposed management here is to remove the second rotation planting and at least initially to allow natural regeneration of the felled area to the north-west of the track. Birch is can produce large amounts of seed from a young age and are particularly adept at pioneer establishment on open disturbed sites such as harvested forestry. Thus regeneration is overwhelmingly dominated by Birch and proposed management will result in a very dense birch thicket that will eventually self-thin.

The colonisation of this area by other tree species, with the exception of Holly and Rowan, will be very slow. If possible, bring on an acorn harvest from the Oaks below and plant Oaks into the developing scrubby woodland. The mature Oak are in good condition for acorn production but still will not produce every year, a mast year could be expected on a rough average every 5-6 years. Thus it is recommended that the Oak woodland is annually inspected for acorn production and that nursery facilities be made available.

Collecting and germinating acorns may be an opportunity to involve the public, especially schools.

· There is some deliberation about the final extraction of the remaining conifers within the broad-leaved woodland fringe.

Remaining conifers require felling in the short-term, this is particularly important for the Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) which has the propensity to re-establish from seed once mature trees gain a foothold. Groups of young naturally-generated Douglas are not uncommon in parts of the upper fringes of the Oak wood. Clearly extraction should extend to seedlings and saplings as well as mature trees, and a reconnaissance after perhaps 10 years, should identify trees that were missed first time around.

Timber that is straight forward to extract, and for which there is a market, should be removed on felling. Otherwise leave it in situ., as the detriment that non-native timber would cause to the saprobian ecology of the wood and eventually the woodland soil, would not equal the damage that extraction would cause.

The felling operation may damage young trees and saplings, mainly of Downy birch (Betula pubescens) and the damaged trees should also be felled. Where possible saplings of other species, especially Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) should be avoided by felling away from them. The depletion of the Birch stock may be considered beneficial (see below).

· Dense stands of Birch saplings and of Holly are currently altering the light-climate and thus woodland ecology is several areas of the wood. They also impede access through the wood.

Thinning of Holly and Birch, although contrary to the prevailing favoured option of minimum intervention management and not part of the current plans, would promote the growth of the remaining trees and may encourage further regeneration below. Thinning of Holly especially may promote better ground flora development.

Non intervention as an option will also work as Birch is intolerant of between tree competition and in dense stands, self-thinning occurs anyway (Evans 1984)

· There is the potential to provide public access tracks through the existing broad-leaved woodland fringe.

Provision of small footpaths to enable better public access may be opposed by some, but should be regarded an important part of enfranchisement - instilling a sense of ownership and appreciation of the woodland, one of the stated aims of the Millennium Project.

Although this is a relatively small woodland area it can accommodate increased
pedestrian use, especially as walkers are likely to remain on paths. A map/interpretative board may help formalise the provision of access

The two existing paths could be linked as described under Area 3.

This is a 'wild' wood and any subsequent public pressure to manage it otherwise (especially to remove dead timber) must be resisted. There are opportunities for the local community to become more involved in the woodland management, for example in searching for conifer saplings once the mature trees are removed, removing washed up litter from the lake shore, cultivating acorns etc…

· The possibility that deer may pose a problem in subsequent woodland development requires addressing.

Although Birch seedlings are readily browsed by Sheep, Deer and Rabbits and Rowan by deer (Evans 1984). Grazing by these animals does not appear to be inhibiting regeneration of trees anywhere on site.

· Formal monitoring of re-growth, especially where any thinning management has been undertaken, need not be intense, but should be formalised and include archiving the data.

The main requirement for monitoring is to log the forest development, in the felled Area 11. Here, gross monitoring should include details of tree and sapling identity, density and dbh in a given sampling area. Details relating to the ground flora need be no more detailed than: grass, bryophyte, heath, Bracken and Bramble cover.

Recording on a 2 year cycle should suffice, and the data can be used to identify the requirement for subsequent intervention management. Ferris-Kaan and Patterson (1992) provide pragmatic advice on woodland monitoring.

2. 61823P i 'Trawane South'

2.1 Introduction to site and proposed site management plans:

The site was afforested mainly with Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) crop and with areas of Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris). The harvesting was still in progress in July 2000. At the same time, a sheep-proof fence has been erected entirely around the plantation with the exception of the road side and the block north of the road.

The vegetation prior to afforestation was not woodland. A local landowner met on site remembers just a scattered scrub of Downy birch (Betula pubescens) and of Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and recalled that the central area was so wet that machinery access was not possible - it was ditched and banked using winches and drag lines on planting.

The current proposals are to replant with Birch (Betula sp.), Alder (Alnus glutinosa), Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris) Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and perhaps a little Oak (Quercus sp.). To date existing the Scot's pine has not been harvested - its retention is likely to b a part of the plan.

Pinus sylvestris had the effect of suppressing heath species but allowing domination of dense Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea). Under the thriving Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), Purple moor-grass was excluded and a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) became prevalent on the ground.

2.2 Ecological survey of site:

Area 1 i

The vegetation that extends across the elevated land to the south-west of the site. Sheep-grazed heath/bog with a peat depth generally below 30 cm.

Ericaceous cover comprises mainly Bell heather (Erica cinerea) and Heather (Calluna vulgaris) at around 40% cover (see photo 2.1 of showing one of the very few places where felling extends to the boundary).

This is the vegetation into which the upper parts of the plantation were established, and remains there at the fringes between poorly growing trees.

Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) F-A
Bell heather (Erica cinerea) O
Hare's-tail cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum) O
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) A
Heath rush (Juncus squarrosus) LF
Deergrass (Trichophorum cespitosum) F-A
Bog-myrtle (Myrica gale) LF
Cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix) R
White beak-sedge (Rhynchospora alba) LO
a moss (Aulacomnium palustre) LO
a Sphagnum moss (S. capillifolium) LA
a moss (Campylopus atrovirens) VLF

Area 1 ii

Descending the slope there is a transition to a more grass dominated vegetation of unimproved acid grassland with ericaceous cover ± 10% and a scattered scrub of Downy birch (Betula pubescens) also Bog-myrtle (Myrica gale) patches (see photo 2.2).

Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) A
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) F
Bog-myrtle (Myrica gale) F
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) F
Bell heather (Erica cinerea) F
Heath rush (Juncus squarrosus)
Bog asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum)
a Sphagnum moss (S. capillifolium)
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta)
Round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) R
Carnation sedge (Carex panicea)
Deergrass (Trichophorum cespitosum) F
a lichen (Cladonia portentosa)
Green-ribbed sedge (Carex binervis) R

Area 1 iii

A large, level, peaty Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) stand occupies a water receiving terrace.

Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) D
Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) O
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus)
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta)
Marsh violet (Viola palustris) F
a moss (Polytrichum commune) F
Marsh Horsetail (Equisetum palustre)
Star sedge (Carex echinata)
Marsh bedstraw (Galium palustre)
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus)
Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
Lesser spearwort (Ranunculus flammula)
Brown sedge (Carex disticha)
Marsh willowherb (Epilobium palustre)

Area 1 iv

On the south-eastern side of the site, here is a clear demarcation between the unenclosed heath and a set of three grazed, level fields (see photo 2.3) which are under an interesting mire community.

As the area is off site, there was not much time available to inspect these fields, except to note that they are mires with much Star sedge (Carex echinata).

Star sedge (Carex echinata)
Marsh pennywort (Hydrocotyle vulgaris)
Carnation sedge (Carex panicea)
Marsh violet (Viola palustris)
Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) R
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum)
Common sedge (Carex nigra)
Common yellow-sedge (Carex viridula ssp. oedocarpa) LF
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta)
Devil's-bit scabious (Succisa pratensis)
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) well-grazed
Flea sedge (Carex pulicaris)
Heath-grass (Danthonia decumbens)
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus)

A small unoccupied house occupies a low grassy bluff at the site edge, and it is worth noting that Alder (Alnus glutinosa) are thriving around the house. This bluff continues into the site where it is under Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris).

Area 2

Young or ailing Sitka plantation, with stunted, and sometimes chloritic trees, especially at the outer fringes (see photos 2.4 and 2.5 with fence post for scale). In open areas between the small trees, exclusion of grazing here has favoured Heather (Calluna vulgaris):

ungrazed grazed

Canopy height (cm) 70+ 5-15
approximate cover (%) 40 60

Otherwise, an undifferentiated heath vegetation remains at the edge, although is increasingly suppressed to the north as the plantation gains vigour. In the dense Sitka areas access between the trees was very difficult as the canopy is not elevated off the ground, but little vegetation would be found beneath them.

Along the southern-most boundary, the plantation has failed completely in a strip alongside the fence (see photo 2.6 where the effect of grazing exclusion in promoting Heather, is obvious in the distance). Several quadrats were recorded within the survey compartment:

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) 8 8 5 7 7 V
Bell heather (Erica cinerea) 7 7 4 3 7 V
Cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix) 3 4 4 3 1 V
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) 4 7 8 7 6 V
a lichen (Cladonia portentosa) 4 3 1 3 IV
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) 1 1 II
Hare's-tail cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum) 3 1 II
Bog-myrtle (Myrica gale) 4 6 II

Other species:
Deergrass (Trichophorum cespitosum) OLF
White beak-sedge (Rhynchospora alba) VLF
Bog asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum) VLF
Common cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium) LF

The northern side of the remaining plantation is pictured in photo 2.7. The main species between trees here was Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) - ericaceous species no longer important.

Area 3

The central area of the site south of the road has been harvested (see photo 2.8). Peat depth at around the road side is ± 70 cm. Drains in the site may have been renovated to facilitate extraction, in any case they were flowing very actively. The extraction was relatively recent, allowing an opportunity to record an early stage of floristic recovery, albeit in an untypically wet area. There is notably little re-establishment of heath species or of Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea). The cover is a mixture of former plantation species, ephemeral weedy species, and species that would form the basis of the next plagioclimax:

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

Common yellow-sedge (Carex viridula ssp. oedocarpa) 3 4 3 3 3 V
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) 6 4 3 2 2 V
Bristle club-rush (Isolepis setacea) 3 5 3 2 3 V
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) 3 5 4 1 1 V
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 6 5 1 4 IV
Lesser spearwort (Ranunculus flammula) 2 4 2 1 IV
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) 3 3 2 2 IV
Jointed rush (Juncus articulatus) 3 3 2 III
Bramble (Rubus agg.) seedling 1 2 1 III
Redshank (Persicaria maculosa) 2 2 II
Toad rush (Juncus bufonius) 4 4 II
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) 1 1 II
a moss (Pseudoscleropodium purum) 1 I
a moss (Polytrichum formosum) 4 I
Bog stitchwort (Stellaria uliginosa) 1 I
Cat's-ear (Hypochoeris radicata) 1 I
Floating sweet-grass (Glyceria fluitans) 1 I
Heath bedstraw (Galium saxatile) 1 I
Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) 1 I
Cardamine flexuosa 3 I
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) 7 I
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) 1 I
Procumbent pearlwort (Sagina procumbens) 3 I
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) 2 I
Heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis) 1 I
a moss (Calliergon cuspidatum) 1 I
Heath wood-rush (Luzula multiflora) 1 I
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) seedling 1 I
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) 1 I
Sheep's sorrel (Rumex acetosella) 1 I
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) seedling 1 I
Bell heather (Erica cinerea) 1 I

Bare soil % 60 50 50 90 70

There are some areas with more dense establishment of bent grasses, mainly Common bent (Agrostis capillaris), but also Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera), often with Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) and Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus). Lesser spearwort (Ranunculus flammula), Compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus), Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) and Marsh bedstraw (Galium palustre) are all patchy, and in places, especially on drier peat banks, the former cover of little else but the moss Thuidium tamariscinum is still evident.

Other species:
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) seedlings
Marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre)
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant)
Ivy (Hedera helix)
Smooth sow-thistle (Sonchus oleraceus)
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata)
Green-ribbed sedge (Carex binervis)
Creeping cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)
Common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
a Sphagnum moss (S. auriculatum inundatum)

Area 3 i

A small local patch within the harvested area where the vegetation recovery is significantly advanced in comparison to the surroundings (see photo 2.9). Possibly an old wind throw area. The development of vegetation here does not necessarily reflect the likely development over the rest of the felled area as conditions are very different without the sheltering Sitka, but it does allow some sort of insight.

Bramble (Rubus agg.) F
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) O
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) O to 70 cm tall
Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia) F to 2m tall
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) F to 2m tall
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) A
Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) LO
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) F
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) F
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) F
Star sedge (Carex echinata)
Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium)
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum)
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta)
Marsh Horsetail (Equisetum palustre) VLF
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) VLF
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) R
Plagiothecium undulatum

Area 4

Several small Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris) plantations mainly on better drained ground on the fringes of the wet hollow into which the Sitka were planted. They were all found to have a characteristic species-poor ground flora comprising mainly Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea).

Area 4 i

A young Scot's pine plantation, as yet unharvested, with trunk diameters in the range 10n - 28 cm (see photo 2.10). Still with a few Sitka on the inner edge of the plantation and Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) on the outer edge at the site boundary. A few Downy birch (Betula pubescens) to 16 cm dbh but usually smaller, some hybrid willow (Salix x multinervis) and good Eared willow (Salix aurita), but nowhere frequent, and a few Holly (Ilex aquifolium) saplings.

The ground flora is generally very species-poor and grassy:

Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) A
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) FLA
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) O
Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) seedling R 1 only
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) R
a moss (Pleurozium schreberi) OLF
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) LF tree bases
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) LO
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) seedlings R
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) seedlings R

Area 4 ii

An unharvested Scot's pine plantation, the ground flora dominated by Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea). The moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) usually only occasional.

Area 4 iii

A narrow fringe of Scot's pine extending along the eastern boundary nearly from the road. It is unusual in being planted on level ground in a similar physical situation to the adjacent harvested Sitka (see photo 2.11).

Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) D
Thuidium tamariscinum F
Bramble (Rubus agg.) LF
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) O saplings
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) saplings O
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) O
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) OLF
Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) seedling R self-seeded
Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata) R
Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia) R single mature bush
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) R
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) R
Common knapweed (Centaurea nigra) VLF
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) VLF
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) VLF
Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
Heath bedstraw (Galium saxatile)
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant)

Area 5 i

Mature Sitka, as yet unharvested (see photo 2.12). Trunk diameters to 50+ cm. In places Common bent (Agrostis capillaris), and Bramble (Rubus agg.), with Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum), and Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) relieve the ground flora which is mainly a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum), but with patches of a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum).

a Sphagnum moss (S. capillifolium) R
sapling Alder (Alnus glutinosa) R
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) O
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) seedlings R
a moss (Dicranum scoparium) LO
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) LO

Area 5 ii

To the north of the road, a mature (dbh ± 40 cm) Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) plantation remains unharvested (see photo 2.13).

There are a few Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris) at the road-side edge.

As may be expected, the ground flora is species-poor with a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) ubiquitous amongst the fallen needles. Bramble (Rubus agg.) is frequent although not dense.

Other species:
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) O
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) saplings O to 50 cm tall
Pignut (Conopodium majus) O
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) O
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) O
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) saplings OLF also to 50 cm
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) OLF
Snowberry (Symphoricarpos alba) VLF
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) R
Heath wood-rush (Luzula multiflora) R
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) R
Star sedge (Carex echinata) R
Bush vetch (Vicia sepium) R
Flea sedge (Carex pulicaris) R
Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata) R
Slender St John's-wort (Hypericum pulchrum) R
Yellow pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum) R
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) seedling R
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) seedling R
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) R
Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus) seedling RLO

Towards the front, well before the fen area, the gradient slacks and there are local damp areas in which a few trees have recently fallen. These may be former cuttings but it is difficult to be conclusive here. A different set of species inhabit these areas:

Remote sedge (Carex remota) LF
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) LF
Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
Marsh bedstraw (Galium palustre)
Water horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile)
Ragged-Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi)
Water plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica)
Square-stalked willowherb (Epilobium tetrapterum)
Toad rush (Juncus bufonius)
Lesser spearwort (Ranunculus flammula)
Giant fescue (Festuca gigantea)

To the north-east, the front edge of the plantation has more abundant Bramble (Rubus agg.).

Area 6

There is a tall fen zone beyond the plantation leading to and beyond the march ditch into Trawane Bay. The stand has a high water table, nearly at the surface - footsteps fill with water. At the plantation edge, a few shallow, rectangular depressions appear to be excavated, possibly for 'mud' which in parts of the northern counties was cut for compressing and drying into fuel briquettes as a substitute for peat.

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

Reed canary-grass (Phalaris arundinacea) 8 10 10 7 7 V
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) 5 3 4 3 3 V
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) 4 6 7 8 6 V
Water horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile) 7 5 4 7 4 V
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) 1 1 1 1 1 V
Marsh bedstraw (Galium palustre) 2 3 3 III
Timothy (Phleum pratense) 1 2 2 III
Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) 1 1 1 III
Heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis) 1 3 2 III
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) 1 2 II
Meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis) 1 I
Tufted vetch (Vicia cracca) 1 I
Tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) 3 I

This is a relatively species-rich vegetation, the 1x1 m quadrat sample size not large enough to illustrate this better. Significantly for Reed canary-grass (Phalaris arundinacea) fen, Common nettle (Urtica dioica) is absent as an associate (see photos 2.14 closer to the forest and 2.15 close to the ditch).

More species:
Amphibious bistort (Persicaria amphibia)
Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis)
Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
Marsh speedwell (Veronica scutellata)
Marsh cinquefoil (Potentilla palustris)
Bottle sedge (Carex rostrata)
Water mint (Mentha aquatica)
Meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris)
Hedge woundwort (Stachys sylvatica)
Broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius)
Common reed-mace (Typha latifolia) LF in and around ditch
Gipsywort (Lycopus europaeus)
Water mint (Mentha aquatica)
Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) in ditch
Common spike-rush (Eleocharis palustris) in ditch
Water horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile) A in ditch

There are scattered Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia) especially in a zone 6-8 m back from the ditch and 10-15 m out from the plantation edge, but bushes are mainly isolated from each other and overall cover does not exceed 10%.

This is not a normal habitat for Deschampsia cespitosa, which responds by growing abnormally - to 235 cm tall!

2.3 Assessment of site:

In its current condition, the area has little to recommend it either as a conservation or an amenity site.

To the south, where the Sitka have not thrived, the heathland vegetation is in better condition where the sheep are excluded, as Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) is promoted in the grazed areas. Further north as the conifers begin to do better, their shading effect excludes heather and again Purple moor-grass is dominant. The same is the case below the Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris).

The recovering vegetation in the felled area is in an early stage, but appears not to be regenerating heath species. This is a flushed mineral area where Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) is the most likely successor.

2.4 Recommendations on proposed management:

· The Lough Gill catchment management plan (Ryan and Cotton 1998) considers that increasing the stock of hardwoods in the catchment is a Medium priority.

· The intrinsic value of Atlantic heath habitat is such that An Taisce et al. (1994) recommend that new forests should not be established on 'degraded upland areas capable of rehabilitation as blanket bog or heather moorland'. These satellite sites do fall into this category and advise should be sought from Dúchas as to the desirability of planting here. It appears that the heath here is not valued highly enough to be included within the ASSI/pSAC and it is likely that Dúchas would respond favourably.

· The tree species selection is appropriate for the site, although Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris) is not considered strictly native as it has been introduced in Ireland since the last ice-age, however, it was a major part of the native vegetation before the last ice-age, and native Scottish stock (var. scotica) have been selected for planting.

· The distribution of planted species within the site is important. It would be good policy to focus upon Alder (Alnus glutinosa) and Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) north of the current road, especially leading down to the fen, where interplanting of willow would also be a possibility - willow whips could be easily obtained from Area 6 and should root readily.

· The former site included a central wet area. There is the potential to easily recreate wet areas within the planned wood by sluicing the drains. If this option is selected, the new marshy areas should not be planted, and indeed initially, should be kept free of Birch regeneration.

3. 61823 ii 'Opposite Inishfree'

3.1 Introduction to site and proposed site management plans:

This compartment lies opposite Inishfree Island extending some 300 m along the shore and inland some 700 m covering ± 19.5 ha. It includes a track, now incorporated into the Sligo Way, leading past the derelict ruin of a small house.

Along the shoreline, and to the east of the site, the soils are predominantly mineral, sometimes with a humic layer, overlying gravels. Away from the shore, and especially to the south and west, the soil is peat overlying bedrock of Moinian schist. A low promontory of the rising peatland runs eastwards from the site centre to eastern boundary.

The site was planted under a commercial Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) crop which had been completely harvested by July 2000. A sequel to the harvesting was the erection of a sheep-proof fence entirely around the former plantation area. No sheep were seen on the survey day.

The vegetation prior to afforestation was not woodland and probably reflected the underlying soils, with the peat areas under a heath/blanket bog dominated by Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) and Bell heather (Erica cinerea), with a Sphagnum moss (S. capillifolium), Heather (Calluna vulgaris) and Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and with Bog-myrtle (Myrica gale) patches, the lower mineral soil enclosed and grazed, with a Common bent (Agrostis capillaris)-dominated sward. There is a transition between the different communities.

The current proposals are to remove any second rotation planting and to replant instead with Birch (Betula sp.), Alder (Alnus glutinosa), Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris) Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and perhaps a little Oak (Quercus sp.)

A tentative plan to include the renovation of the derelict building is being considered.

3.2 Ecological survey of site:

The site was divided in survey areas according to vegetation boundaries. The survey areas are shown in Map 3.

Area 1

Outside the planting area, thus outside the site, but allowing an insight into the vegetation here prior to the original forestry planting: The peat depth varies from ± none (exposed rocks) to 50 cm. The vegetation is a grassy heath 60-70 cm tall with an overall ericaceous cover ± 70% and no area of 5m x 5m with less than 50% ericaceous cover (see photo 3.1).

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) 8 8 8 7 9 V
Bell heather (Erica cinerea) 7 5 6 5 7 V
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) 6 5 8 5 IV
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 3 3 5 3 IV
Hare's-tail cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum) 3 4 3 III
a Sphagnum moss (S. capillifolium) 5 5 7 III
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) 1 4 4 4 III
a moss Hypnum cupressiforme 2 3 3 III
a moss (Pleurozium schreberi) 3 3 3 III
Bog-myrtle (Myrica gale) 5 4 5 III
a lichen (Cladonia portentosa) 5 6 3 III
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) 1 2 II
Cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix) 1 1 II
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) 1 3 II

Other species:
Bog asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum) LF just in wetter areas
Carnation sedge (Carex panicea) LO also wetter
Deergrass (Trichophorum cespitosum) R
Common cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium) O
Round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) R wet
Heath rush (Juncus squarrosus) R
a moss (Leucobryum glaucum) O
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum)

Alongside the western boundary of the planting compartment the peat depth increases to 74 cm. Former use as an informal track during extraction has impeded drainage locally and led to waterlogged peat, recruiting new species:

White beak-sedge (Rhynchospora alba) LF
Common milkwort (Polygala vulgaris)

In places Sphagnum moss (S. capillifolium) cover increases to 70+% in patches to 4-5m across, usually with the mosses Hypnum cupressiforme and Aulacomnium palustre. The liverwort Cephaloziella divaricata also recorded amongst Sphagnum here.

Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) is frequent in patches beside the former plantation and to a lesser extent, along the shore. A few isolated Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum) were also noted in these areas.

Along the steep slope down to the shore there is a scattered shrub cover not found away from the shore.

Downy birch (Betula pubescens) F*
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) OLF
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) R small saps only
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) R
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) R

*The original field notes record Silver birch as frequent mixed with occasional Downy birch - the only field record of Downy birch made during the survey - all field records for Silver having been amended (see Survey protocol above).

Area 2i

Uneven ground surface across which it is hard to walk, with large peat blocks lying around, also old drains, tree stumps and brashings. Partly replanted with Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) now to 70 cm.

Mainly dominated by Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) height around 70 cm, with a few open areas, especially old drains, colonised by a Sphagnum moss (S. capillifolium) and Toad rush (Juncus bufonius) (see photo 3.2).

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) 9 9 10 8 10 V
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) 6 5 1 4 4 V
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) 3 3 1 1 IV
Bell heather (Erica cinerea) 2 3 1 3 IV
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) seedling 1 1 1 1 IV
a liverwort (Calypogeia muellerana) 1 1 1 1 IV
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) 3 6 3 III
a Sphagnum moss (S. capillifolium) 4 5 5 III
Star sedge (Carex echinata) 2 1 3 III
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 3 2 III
a moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) 3 3 2 III
a moss (Dicranella heteromalla) 1 1 3 III
a Sphagnum moss (S. palustre) 1 1 II
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) seedling 1 I
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) 3 I
a moss (Polytrichum commune) 1 I
Marsh pennywort (Hydrocotyle vulgaris) 1 I
Hay-scented buckler-fern (Dryopteris aemula) 1 I
a moss (Plagiomnium rostratum) 1 I
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) 5 I
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) 3 I
Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) seedling 1 I
a Sphagnum moss (S. fallax) 1 I

Peat depth (cm) 97 95 95 69 102

Additional species:
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) VLF
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) R
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) R
Bog pondweed (Potamogeton polygonifolius) R drains
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) R seedling
Hay-scented buckler-fern (Dryopteris aemula) LO
Heath bedstraw (Galium saxatile) LF
Bramble (Rubus agg.) R
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) R
a Sphagnum moss (S. auriculatum inundatum) LO drains
a moss (Dicranella heteromalla) O
a liverwort (Calypogeia fissa) R?
a moss (Leucobryum glaucum) O
Heath wood-rush (Luzula multiflora) O

Also there are a few small disturbed areas where the Purple moor-grass canopy is broken. These with Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) and:

Additional species:
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus)
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus)
Bramble (Rubus agg.)
Heather (Calluna vulgaris)
Hay-scented buckler-fern (Dryopteris aemula)
Heath wood-rush (Luzula multiflora)
Heath bedstraw (Galium saxatile)
Slender St John's-wort (Hypericum pulchrum)
Common yellow-sedge (Carex viridula ssp. oedocarpa)

To the east the soil becomes mineral (see photo 3.3 with Sitka planted in a soil mound) Common bent becomes prevalent and the Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) frequently in patches as the vegetation grades into Area 5.

Area 2 ii

The soil comprises peat to a depth of 30 cm. 3 quadrats were recorded from the north of 2ii where it is still in transition with Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) grassland.

Species table:
spp. quadrat
1 2 3

Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) 7 8 8
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) 7 7 7
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) 5 1
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) 5
Compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus) 5 4
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) 3 3
Star sedge (Carex echinata) 3
Brown sedge (Carex disticha) 1
Jointed rush (Juncus articulatus) 2
Cat's-ear (Hypochoeris radicata) 1
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) 1
Bell heather (Erica cinerea) 3 2
Heath bedstraw (Galium saxatile) 1
Devil's-bit scabious (Succisa pratensis) 2
New Zealand willowherb (Epilobium brunnescens) 1
Marsh willowherb (Epilobium palustre) 1
a moss (Calliergon cuspidatum) 3 3
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus) 3
Common yellow-sedge (Carex viridula ssp. oedocarpa) 3
a moss (Polytrichum commune) 1
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) 2
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 5 7
a moss (Pseudoscleropodium purum) 1 2
a liverwort (Lophocolea bidentata) 1
a Sphagnum moss (S. capillifolium) 1
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) seedling 1
Bristle club-rush (Isolepis setacea) 1
Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) seedling 1

Mainly 2ii comprises the more species-poor Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) sward with the dominant grass increasing in abundance to the south and west (see photo 3.4)

Additional species:
a moss (Hylocomium splendens)
Brown sedge (Carex disticha)
a liverwort (Lophocolea bidentata)
New Zealand willowherb (Epilobium brunnescens)
a moss (Polytrichum commune)
White clover (Trifolium repens)
Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis)
Heath rush (Juncus squarrosus)
Bramble (Rubus agg.)
Heath wood-rush (Luzula multiflora)
Green-ribbed sedge (Carex binervis)
Common mouse-ear (Cerastium fontanum)
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) LF

Area 3

Black humic soil but not peat. Mainly the Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) and Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) type cover (see photo 3.5):

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5

Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) 8 8 9 7 9 V
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) 3 6 1 2 1 V
Bramble (Rubus agg.) 1 3 2 2 7 V
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 1 3 2 3 1 V
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) 5 4 4 1 IV
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) 1 1 1 1 IV
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) 3 5 7 5 IV
Marsh willowherb (Epilobium palustre) 3 1 1 III
Bristle club-rush (Isolepis setacea) 2 1 1 III
White clover (Trifolium repens) 4 3 1 III
Star sedge (Carex echinata) 1 1 1 III
Heath wood-rush (Luzula multiflora) 1 1 1 III
a moss (Polytrichum commune) 1 1 1 III
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) 4 2 1 III
Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) 2 1 1 III
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) 1 1 3 III
New Zealand willowherb (Epilobium brunnescens) 5 1 II
Compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus) 5 3 II
Jointed rush (Juncus articulatus) 3 1 II
Common yellow-sedge (Carex viridula ssp. oedocarpa) 2 1 II
Floating sweet-grass (Glyceria fluitans) 4 4 II
Lesser spearwort (Ranunculus flammula) 1 1 II
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) 2 1 II
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana) 1 I
a moss (Calliergon cuspidatum) 1 I
a moss (Plagiomnium rostratum) 1 I
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus) 4 I
a moss (Pseudoscleropodium purum) 3 I
Narrow buckler-fern (Dryopteris carthusiana) 1 I
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) 1 I
Lady-fern (Athyrium filix-femina) 1 I
Downy birch (Betula pubescens) seedling 1 I
Slender St John's-wort (Hypericum pulchrum) 1 I
Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia) 1 I
Marsh bedstraw (Galium palustre) 1 I
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) 1 I
Marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre) 1 I

Quadrat 1 was recorded closest to the track across the site. It includes species atypical in the general area. Additional plant species were ± confined to the track:

Common mouse-ear (Cerastium fontanum)
Meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis)
Creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense)
Greater plantain (Plantago major)
New Zealand willowherb (Epilobium brunnescens)
Smooth sow-thistle (Sonchus oleraceus)
Daisy (Bellis perennis)
Marsh ragwort (Senecio aquaticus)
Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris)
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum)
Germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys)
Water figwort (Scrophularia auriculata)
Colt's-foot (Tussilago farfara)
Common centaury (Centaurium erythraea)
Fairy flax (Linum catharticum)

Wet ground is infrequent here, and marked by:

Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) LF
Lesser spearwort (Ranunculus flammula)
Toad rush (Juncus bufonius) F
Marsh willowherb (Epilobium palustre)
Floating sweet-grass (Glyceria fluitans)
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus)
Intermediate water-starwort (Callitriche hamulata)

There are small patches of Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) and of Bramble (Rubus agg.). Holly (Ilex aquifolium) and Alder (Alnus glutinosa) saplings are both rare, Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) seedlings are also rare. Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) and Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) seedlings a little more frequent although patchy. Behind the ruined building there is a small group of young Rowan, Downy birch (Betula pubescens) and Sycamore to 15 cm dbh.

This vegetation extends along the shoreline of the compartment, although to the west, Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus), Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) and Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) become more important, and in places, brashings suppress the vegetation recovery (see photo 3.6).

Additional species in the general area:
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) R
Navelwort (Umbilicus rupestris) R (LF @ shore)
Common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) R
Cat's-ear (Hypochoeris radicata) R
Heath bedstraw (Galium saxatile) R
Green-ribbed sedge (Carex binervis) R
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica) VLF
Brown sedge (Carex disticha) R
Sheep's sorrel (Rumex acetosella) R
Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) R
Common nettle (Urtica dioica) R
Nipplewort (Lapsana communis) R
Remote sedge (Carex remota) R
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) R
a moss (Pleurozium schreberi) O

The shoreline is rocky with a single rank of young trees with dbh to max. 25 cm.

Trees species:
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)
Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)
Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) saplings
Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) saplings

Species associated with the shoreline trees:
Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum)
Navelwort (Umbilicus rupestris)
Ivy (Hedera helix)
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) R
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica)
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)
Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata)
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) F
Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana)
Hart's-tongue (Phyllitis scolopendrium)
Male-fern (Dryopteris filix-mas)
a moss (Pseudoscleropodium purum) LF
a moss (Thamnobryum alopecurum)
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
Heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis)

On the OS 6" map, an old stone wall is marked which on the ground delineates an abrupt boundary for Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) which is frequent to the south but hardly occurs to the north. The wall formerly was probably built at a junction between grassland and heath.

Area 4

Level area at the hill base. Partly replanted with second rotation Sitka crop to 70 cm tall (see photo 3.7). The drains are renovated and working (see photo 3.8). The vegetation still shows signs of disturbance after the harvesting operations. Regenerating saplings of Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia) are evident and sometimes frequent, but none over 25 cm tall. Similar sized Holly (Ilex aquifolium) are rare.

Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) F
Compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus) F
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) F
Marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre) F
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) F
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) F-A
a Sphagnum moss S. capillifolium LA ditches only
a moss Hypnum cupressiforme LF
Marsh bedstraw (Galium palustre) LO
Green-ribbed sedge (Carex binervis) LO
a moss (Dicranum scoparium) LO
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) O
Wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris) O
Hedge woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) O
Common yellow-sedge (Carex viridula ssp. oedocarpa) O
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) O
Heath wood-rush (Luzula multiflora) O
White clover (Trifolium repens) O
Bramble (Rubus agg.) O
Star sedge (Carex echinata) O
Common spotted-orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) O
Brown sedge (Carex disticha) O
Marsh willowherb (Epilobium palustre) O
Cat's-ear (Hypochoeris radicata) O
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) O
Slender St John's-wort (Hypericum pulchrum) O
a moss (Dicranella heteromalla) O
a Sphagnum moss (S. palustre) O drains
Creeping bent (Agrostis stolonifera) O-F wettest areas
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) OLF
Lesser spearwort (Ranunculus flammula) OLF esp. in drains
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) OLF esp. by drains
Square-stalked St John's-wort (Hypericum tetrapterum) R
Devil's-bit scabious (Succisa pratensis) R
Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) R
Heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis) R
Broad buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata) R
Bristle club-rush (Isolepis setacea) R
Glaucous sedge (Carex flacca) R
Wavy hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa) R
Brown sedge (Carex disticha) R
Marsh violet (Viola palustris) R
Heath bedstraw (Galium saxatile) VLF
a Sphagnum moss (S. tenellum) ?
a moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) ?
a moss (Plagiomnium cuspidatum) ?

Area 5

Below the peat slope of Area 2i, the soil becomes mineral (see photo 3.3) Common bent becomes prevalent and the Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) frequently in patches as the vegetation grades into Area 2.

Species table:
spp. quadrat tot.
1 2 3 4 5
Common bent (Agrostis capillaris) 8 8 7 9 8 V
Sweet vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) 3 3 4 V
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) 4 3 5 3 4 V
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) 1 I
Bramble (Rubus agg.) 4 7 3 4 IV
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) seedling 1 1 II
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) 1 1 II
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) seedling 1 1 II
Heath bedstraw (Galium saxatile) 4 3 5 III
a moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) 4 3 4 4 IV
Hay-scented buckler-fern (Dryopteris aemula) 1 I
Eared willow (Salix aurita) 3 I
a moss (Pleurozium schreberi) 2 2 II
Slender St John's-wort (Hypericum pulchrum) 1 2 II
a liverwort (Lophocolea bidentata) 3 3 3 3 V
Soft-rush (Juncus effusus) 5 4 4 III
Star sedge (Carex echinata) 3 4 II
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) 1 I
Hard fern (Blechnum spicant) 1 I

Additional species:
Compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus)
Marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre)
Common yellow-sedge (Carex viridula ssp. oedocarpa)
Marsh woundwort (Stachys palustris)
Great wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica)
Sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) LF
Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)
Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis)
Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum) R
a moss (Rhytidiadelphus loreus)
Bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus) LF in ditches
Lesser spearwort (Ranunculus flammula) LF ditches
Marsh pennywort (Hydrocotyle vulgaris) LF esp. ditches
Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata) R ditch
Bog pondweed (Potamogeton polygonifolius) LF ditches
Bog stitchwort (Stellaria uliginosa)
Marsh willowherb (Epilobium palustre)

At x a small thicket of Downy birch (Betula pubescens), Rusty willow (Salix cinerea ssp oleifolia), Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and Alder (Alnus glutinosa).


A limited number of bird records were noted:

Common terns off-shore
Meadow pipit

Ringlet butterfly

3.3 Assessment of site:

The recovering vegetation here is dominated by Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea), but the gradual recovery of heathland could be expected.

The moss Dicranum leioneuron was tentatively recorded from Area 4, but a voucher specimen was determined by Neil Lockhart of Dúchas (13.09.2000) as the very common species Dicranum scoparium identifiable from the lamellae evident on a cross section of the nerve. Planting of this area was suspended prior to Dr Lockhart's determination of the specimen. The suspension was duly lifted.

3.4 Recommendations on proposed management:

· The Lough Gill catchment management plan (Ryan and Cotton 1998) considers that increasing the stock of hardwoods in the catchment is a Medium priority

· The intrinsic value of Atlantic heath habitat is such that An Taisce et al. (1994) recommend that new forests should not be established on 'degraded upland areas capable of rehabilitation as blanket bog or heather moorland'. These satellite sites do fall into this category and advise should be sought from Dúchas as to the desirability of planting here. It appears that the heath here is not valued highly enough to be included within the ASSI/pSAC and it is likely that Dúchas would respond favourably.

· Assuming replanting is agreed by Dúchas, the suite of species selected is appropriate. Wych elm (Ulmus glabra) could be added to the list. The existing Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) along the shoreline should be controlled by ring-barking, felling or uprooting - there are relatively few specimens and this would ensure that Sycamore invasion of the establishing stand is unlikely.

The densest planting should occur in the northern section, alongside the lough, and here most of the Ash, Alder and Oak can be planted. Further back into the site, planting initially could be less dense, planted in groups, and rely more on Birch and Rowan, some of which will regenerate anyway.

· Public usage is inevitable as the Sligo Way runs across the site (see photo 3.9). Interpretative boards here, or in the Inishfree car park, could detail the Millennium Woodland project for the whole site.


I would like to thank; the Forest Officer Martin Ruane of the Forest Office, Main Street, Collooney; Dr Declan Little, Millennium Forest Project; Caitriona Douglas, Dr Neil Lockhart and Dr Michael Wyse Jackson of Dúchas, Dublin, for their support in this project.


An Taisce, R.S.P.B. and the Irish Wildbird Conservancy (1994)
Ireland's forested future, a plan for forestry and the environment.
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Belfast and Edinburgh.

Evans, J. (1984)
Forestry Commission Bulletin 62. Silviculture of broad-leaved woodland.
HMSO, London.

Ferris-Kaan, R. and Patterson, G.S. (1992)
Forestry Commission Bulletin 108. Monitoring vegetation changes in conservation management of forests.
HMSO, London.

Little, D.S. (1994)
PhD Thesis
Trinity College, Dublin.

Rodwell, J.S. (ed.) (1991)
British Plant Communities 2. Woodlands and scrub
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Thompson, E., Ryan, S. and Cotton, D.C.F. (1998)
Management Plan for the Lough Gill Catchment
Sligo County Council, Sligo.

White, J. and Doyle, G. (1981)
The vegetation of Ireland. A catalogue raisonné
Royal Dublin Society, Journal of Life Sciences. 3, 289 - 368.

Appendix 1 Site photographs

Appendix 2 Collected literature

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