The Story of the Woods
The woodland is dominated by Hazel, with some large Oak trees and more rarely, Elm trees, most of which have been destroyed by Dutch Elm Disease that has encroached into the woodland over the past 20 years.
Drumnaph Woodland is certainly old, much older than the trees themselves. The ground flora which is rich in wood Anemone, Bluebells and Pignut indicate a mature forest floor that has been here for many centuries and probably thousands of years. These woods were once part of the vast oak forest of ‘Gleann Con Chadhain’ and ‘An Choill Íochtarach’ that covered much of the area west of the Bann to the Sperrin Mountains and north as far as Coleraine. Much of the forest of the area was felled during the 17th Century following the Elizabethan conquest of Gaelic Ulster to fuel the subsequent plantation of English and Scottish settlers. By the end of the 17th century most of this vast forest had been felled and only inaccessible pockets such as Droim nDamh remained. Today Ireland is still the least wooded country in Europe, so important old woodland sites like this one are hugely important, both ecologically and culturally.