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let someone know where you are going and what time to expect you back. Bring your mobile phone with you. The Walk. St. John’s Wood has been undisturbed for a sufficient time to allow a rich and varied flora and fauna to develop. The entire area is underlain by Carboniferous Limestone and the bedrock is close to the surface. The soil cover is mostly shallow and well drained, though patches of heavy clay are also present. This adds to the uniqueness of St. John’s Wood. Because of the fragile nature of the area ALWAYS stick to the walkways and don’t wander about. We hope you enjoy your walk in St. John’s Wood. Please remember that this rich heritage can only survive with your co-operation. Do not leave the marked tracks. Do not damage trees, plants or fences. Do not pick flowers. Do not litter. Please keep St. John’s Wood safe for future generations. Thank you. The National Parks and Wildlife Service. The role of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is to secure the conservation of a representative range of ecosystems, to maintain & enhance populations of flora & fauna in Ireland and to implement the EU Habitats & Birds Directives and other National & EU legislation. In addition the NPWS manage, maintain and develop State-owned National Parks and Nature Reserves. St John’s Wood forms part of Lough Ree Special Area of Conservation, a Natura 2000 site listed for wildlife conservation by the European Union. NPWS has been working with the other landowners to manage the bio-diversity of the woodland. The work has included survey work, wildlife ride-management and coppicing of certain areas to maintain the richness of habitats within the wood. The area is regularly used as a study area by colleges and others.
How to get here.
Take the N61 Roscommon – Athlone road and turn at Lecarrow village when you see the St. John’s Wood sign. Pass the old Lecarrow Mill on your right. After approx. two miles the road turns through 90 degrees to the right. Turn left. Ignore the gate entrance to St. John’s House and continue along the roadway to the left of this gate. Follow this road until you come to the first turn to your right (signposted). A short drive will bring you to St. John’s Wood car park. Please park safely. GPS coordinates: 53.552266 deg N - 8.003882 deg W.
Visitors Guide to St. John’s Wood
St. John’s Wood Lecarrow
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National Parks & Wildlife Service: www.npws.ie St. John’s Parish Heritage Group: firstname.lastname@example.org
Design by Niall Cribbon & Liam Byrne 087 2431240 (October 2013)
Acknowledgements. This leaflet was produced by St. John’s Parish Heritage Group in partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Photos: Padraig O’Donnell, Niall Cribbon, NPWS & Liam Byrne. Used with permission. Map: Ordnance Survey Ireland Permit No. 8902. © Ordnance Survey Ireland / Government of Ireland.
National Parks & Wildlife Service
National Parks & Wildlife Service
Well developed woodland over limestone is uncommon in Ireland and this makes woodlands around Lough Ree, and in particular St. John’s Wood, unique. St. John’s Wood comprises approx. 110 hectares and is bounded to the east, north and north-east by the lake. The boundaries of the wood have changed little since the first Ordnance Survey maps of 1837 and the wood was th owned as a single unit until early in the 20 century when it was divided amongst the local farmers. Tree cutting took place for many years and timber was carried by boat to Athlone. In recent years the wood has largely been in State ownership and today most of the wood is managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Flora. The wood is dominated by Oak, Ash and Willow. In some areas these species form a canopy with an understorey of Hazel and Holly. From a total of twenty-six native species of trees, twenty three can be found in St. John’s Wood. Remarkably few non-native species are found. Such a canopy of native species is very rare in Ireland. Portions of the wood are dominated by Hazel. This is the th result of earlier practices. Scot’s Pine planted in the 19 century are present in the western part of the wood. Along the western edge of the woodland a remarkable fen community exists. Downy Birch, Alder, Yew, Crab-Apple, Whitebeam and Wild Cherry are all to be found. Purging & Alder Buckthorn are also present while Royal Fern is frequently found within the fen area. Plants characteristic of ancient woodland such as Toothworth and Bird’s-nest Orchid occur here. Other species of Orchids are plentiful. Mosses are abundant, forming a continuous carpet over the ground in some areas. Pockets of leached, acid soil support species such as black bog-rush & grass of parnassus.
St. John’s Wood
Fauna. The abundance of woodland flora plays host to a wide variety of avian and mammalian fauna. Resident bird species include summer visitors like the Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, White Throat and Spotted Flycatcher. The distinctive song of the warblers can be clearly heard over the cacophony of other woodland birds. This abundance of bird-life provides an attractive site for those species higher up the food chain. These include birds of prey such as the Buzzards, Sparrowhawk, Barn Owl and Long-Eared Owl who hunt and breed in the woodland.
Animal species found here include Bats, Pine Martin, Stoat, Fox, Field Mouse and Pygmy Shrew. An ongoing bat-roost scheme is in operation. A recent invertebrate study found a wide range of insects, including a number of rare species. All this combines to make St. John’s Wood one of the finest nature sites in Ireland. Its large size and species richness make it a most valuable site in terms of its heritage and ecological significance.
Start and Finish Here
Important notice: Possession of this guide does not constitute a legal right of way. Permission should be sought from landowners before entering farmland.