Union Wood

Union Wood Nature Reserve Co Sligo

Sligo’s Oak Woods

Part of Union Wood belongs to National Parks and Wildlife Service, and contains one of the largest remaining native Oak Woodlands in this area.  Much of Union Wood is owned by Coillte and managed for timber, biodiversity and recreation.

Who lives in the woods?

Mammals that live here include Pine Marten, Red Squirrel, Badger, Fos, Bats and Fallow Deer. Birds include Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Jay, Raven, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. Buzzards are occasionally seen soaring over the trees.  A good insect population live on the dead wood, native trees and nearby wetlands, lakes and river, including beautiful butterflies and dragonflies.

Trees and Plants

Apart from Sessile Oak, other trees include native Ash, Scots Pine, Downy Birch, Holly, Rowan, Hazel, Hawthorn and Blackthorn.  The ground flora is characteristic of an acidic woodland: Greater Wood-rush is abundant, and Bilberry, Wood Sorrel, Bluebell, Ramsons (Wild Garlic) and numerous lichens and ferns are present too.

Oak Wood Regeneration

The National Parks and Wildlife Service have carried out a series of conservation works:

  • Removal of the conifer and non native tree species(beech and sycamore), to allow native oak to spread
  • Deer fencing around most of the oak wood to restrict deer grazing, in order to allow natural regeneration of the oaks
  • Rhododendron and laurel control by cutting and spraying, to allow light to reach the woodland floor.
  • Replanting of native oak and ash trees, to assist woodland regeneration

This will allow the regeneration and continuation of our fantastic Oak Woods for the future.


Tread Quietly! – you might be lucky to see deer or red squirrel

Birds and Bat Boxes are on some trees to provide nesting and roosting places

Jays – Oak Tree Cultivators! Did you know that Jays collect and bury acorns for the winter hungry months? The ones they forget, grow into Oak Trees!

Pine Martens (the ‘Tree Cat’ – Cait Crann – in irish) – have come back from the verge of extinction and are now plentiful in Sligo and Leitrim.

For Queries:

Contact:  Miriam Crowley Conservation Ranger  085 8535823

National Parks & Wildlife Services