St John’s Wood
St. John’s Wood in Roscommon is one of Ireland’s largest surviving ancient woodlands, over 260 acres 70% of which is owned and managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
The Native Woodland Trust acquired 11 acres of the ancient woodlands. It’s believed that St. John’s Wood is one of Ireland’s few primary ancient woodlands, meaning it has never been fully cleared so that there has been woodland consistently on this site since the last Ice Age.
Species like toothwort, a parasitic orchid-like flower, is used as an indicator species for ancient woodland.
The age of the forest and how undisturbed it has been has
made it very biodiverse and gives an insight into the temperate rainforest that would have once covered much of Ireland.
Other rare species found in St. John’s Wood include protected trees like alder buckthorn and bird cherry, mammals like pine martens, bird’s-nest orchids, and the wood warbler a bird with fewer than 10 breeding pairs in Ireland.
St John’s Wood, Roscommon