Ardan Wood was the first woodland site that the Trust acquired. The site is on the Ordinance Survey maps of Ireland, carried out in the 1830s and 40s, and so it qualifies as ‘long established woodland’.
Excitingly, it is potentially older still, with some evidence for its presence during the Down survey, which would make it over 350 years old and qualify it as an Ancient Woodland.
Woodlands like Ardan are vital wildlife refuges. There is an established badger sett on site. Common and Soprano Pipistrelle bats have been recorded on the site too, with plenty of potential bat roosting sites in the trees. Pedunculate Oak is the dominant species in the woodland canopy.
The understorey is mostly made up of holly, hazel, spindle, bramble and wild rose but there have been records of rarer species like buckthorn, wild crab apple, wild privet and Irish whitebeam.
There is varied ground flora throughout the year. Early spring is typified by carpets of wood anemone and bluebells. Other notable flowers include, enchanter’s nightshade, early purple orchid, yellow pimpernel, wild strawberry and pink anemone.
Ardan, Sonnagh, Co. Westmeath