Hedgerow alive with life
You are now moving through grassland which is typical of the local agricultural landscape, akin to the pasture dominated landscape we see throughout much of Ireland. While this area is not as rich in plant and animal species as the rest of the reserve, mature hedgerows offer important habitat for many plants, insects, birds and mammals. Hedgerows are perhaps the most important wildlife habitat in Ireland today and act as a haven for much of the woodland floor plants that would have existed within the ancient woodland. However, poor management and removal is threatening many once common species that have grown to depend on them. Over 100 species of insect feed on Hawthorn. It’s white flowers are important for pollinating insects, its berries feed many of our mammals while flocks of local and migratory birds depend upon it throughout much of the winter.
As you leave the fields you will enter an area of acid grassland and wet flush. This is a very species rich habitat containing species such as Meadow Thistle, an indicator of old longstanding acid meadows. With flowering plants such as Orchids, Lesser Spearwort, Lady’s Smock and Scabious, to mention but a few, this area supports a wide variety of pollinating insects.