The Celtic Titles Nature Reserve
Slievekirk Wood, Ardmore, near Derry
About the reserve
Slievekirk Wood takes its name from the nearby Slievekirk Mountain, which rises above the Faughan Valley to a height of over 1000 feet. Faughan Valley is one of the most wooded landscapes in Northern Ireland, benefitting from two ancient woodland sites and a number of more recent conservation projects.
Slievekirk Wood was planted predominantly with birch trees around 15 years ago. Plenty of sunlight breaches the canopy, and shines on the silver bark. The woodland is a haven for birdlife, and red deer can be seen from time to time. The beautiful jay bird is a frequent visitor.
As you enter the woodland, a small wooden footbridge aids access over the drainage ditch and an informal, winding path leads through the birch, oak and Scots pine trees. At the far side of the wood, a rustic bench has been installed and there are some lovely views over Derry/Londonderry, Lough Foyle and the Donegal Hills.
Visiting the reserve
The Celtic Titles Nature Reserve is located within Slievekirk Wood, Ardmore, near Derry.
Whether you are travelling South from Derry/Londonderry or North from Belfast, you will need to take the main A6 road, and exit just to the South of Ness Bridge at the Ardmore Road, signposted for Ardmore.
Cross over the River Faughan at the Ardmore Bridge, then take the first left onto Ardground Road followed by an immediate right onto Kildoag Road.
Turn left at the T junction at the top of the hill and follow the road round a right hand bend; when the road straightens out you will see that there is a fork in the road. Take the right hand turn onto Gosheden Road.
The entrance to Slievekirk Wood will be found on your right after approx 0.2 miles.
Finding Your Plot Online
Most visitors who own a plot of land plan to find it and we are here to help. Firstly, please make sure that your plot(s) are registered to your account. Not sure? Check before you visit to save time. If you have not yet created your account, now would be a good time to create one and add your plot(s) to it. Once your plot is linked to your account, you can view your Ordnance Survey co-ordinates and view a Google Map showing your plot location(s).
Where is the reserve?
Multi Taxa Ecological Survey of Slievekirk Woods
A Botanical Haven at Slievekirk
Increasing wildlife activity at the Ardmore Reserve is of massive importance to Celtic Titles and we have some exciting plans to grow and develop the Reserve at Slievekirk to its full potential.
During a Multi Taxa Ecological Survey of the Woods by Canavan Associates LTD (CAL) it was discovered that the boundaries on the North and South are vegetated banks, dominated by brambles, holly, elder, gorse, hawthorn, ivy, bush vetch, hogweed and ash. The benefits to these Araliaceae species is that they are extremely beneficial to wildlife, as they create year-round shelter for a huge number of creatures- thus increasing the possible habitats for more birds, small mammals and invertebrates at the Reserve.
In the same survey, the under canopy plant community include buckler and male ferm, creeping buttercup, fox glove, nettles, brambles, tufted-hair grass, creeping bent grass, couch grass and wood dock.
These species are important as feed for mammals and pollination of the reserve, the FoxGlove and Buttercup will attract Bees which are important to Slievekirk and the Planet!
For the importance of nature biodiversity, the trees on the reserve are identified as mainly birch with some pedunculate oak, Irish oak, Scot’s pine and the occasional ash and rowan tree. These native species provide shelter for the wildlife with oak trees having the potential to support more than 200 insect species alone!
Bird and Mammal Species Found at Ardmore
Following the findings about the Botanicals successfully growing in the Reserve, it is no surprise that bird numbers are thriving, including an appearance from Ireland’s tiniest bird the Goldcrest, with 15 spotted at the reserve during the Survey.
The following have been spotted so far at the reserve; Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Goldcrests, Jay, Raven, Gold Finches, Bullfinch, Robin, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Wren, Jackdaw, Dunnock and Black Cap.
This is a draft list with plans for a breeding birds survey in the future.
With plenty of foliage and shelter the mammals at the Reserve are emerging slowly. With a lone doe fallow deer spotted, badger presence noted and a fox den being discovered by CAL. A small number of rabbits were seen and signs of red squirrel activity was monitored- very exciting news for Celtic Titles as the preservation of Red Squirrels is very important to us.