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Wildlife safari

Wildlife safari

The Wildlife safari project is implemented through The Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme. The LPS is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s programme to conserve and enhance some of the region’s most treasured landscapes. The LPS runs from September 2015 until August 2018.

The total budget for this project is £15,000

This projects aims to conserve biodiversity and their habitat in the Ring of Gullion landscape area through surveying, education, and raising awareness in the community and beyond. This project will deliver on these aims by:
1. Creating a wildlife trail by installing a trailhead, six biodiversity interpretation panels, and three hides and feeding stations, along with all necessary hygiene equipment
2. There will be an accompanying nature detective trail brochure
3. Trail cameras will be installed on the feeders to monitor the condition of the wildlife and the presence/absence of grey squirrels. These can be used for field education
4. An infrared camera will be used for monitoring the presence/absence of squirrels in forest blocks and thus better inform NI Forest Service before harvesting. The cameras can also be used for field education.

Project Updates

Going from strength to strength

Update published on: January 7, 2019


The forest has been going from strength to strength since it’s official opening. Further felling work was carried out, removing the conifers in the dark heart of the forest; this had the result of changing it dramatically. It has gone from being dark, gloomy and enclosed to bright and open, with lots of previously hidden silver birch shining brightly in the sun.

The Glassdrummond Community Association took advantage of the additional wood and the newly opened space to create additional soft paths winding through the cleared section and seating. A clearing has been created which is frequently used as an event performance area.

Since it’s official launch the Community Association have hosted a range of seasonal events from Easter Eggs hunts to Halloween Ghost walks, and of course, playing host to the big man himself at Christmas.

Wildlife Safari Launched

Update published on: August 31, 2017


Building on the initial development and clean-up work carried out by the Glassdrummond Community Association the forest was further improved by the development of a Wildlife Safari. The design of the Wildlife Safari was heavily influenced by ideas and suggestions from St. Brigid’s Primary School pupils and teachers.

The Safari which features four different learning zones, including a covered outdoor classroom, a pond dipping area and a den building area was designed and installed by the Conservation Volunteers.

The purpose of the Wildlife Safari is to encourage visitors of all ages to explore the wildlife of the wood, which is home to a wide range of insects and birds, including a pair of short eared owls.

The new trail was officially launched as part of this year’s Lúnasa Festival, with lots of educational activities, storytelling and entertainment.


Building adventure paths and dead hedges

Update published on: July 31, 2017


During the winter months, a tree surgeon was employed to fell some of the conifers as part of a forest management plan. Much of the useful material was left stacked around the site for future build projects. Enter the Ring of Gullion Youth Rangers.

The Youth Rangers spent two days working in the forest creating a dead hedge around the top of a small disused quarry. The purpose of the dead hedge was two fold;

  • prevent young children from falling off the top into the quarry and to
  • create an additional habit for dead-wood-loving beetles and other beasties.

The dead wood hedge was very solid once built, it was accidentally tested by our Volunteer & Outreach Officer, when she was attempting to drive in a stabilising stake to the pile and it snapped, causing her to unbalance.

The Youth Rangers also began the creation of a log-lined adventure path through the wood. After a failed attempt at making a stepping-stone path through a particularly boggy section, they changed tack and created a log path using the ancient technique of floating them on a bed of finer interlacing branches. The Youth Rangers built the start and end of the path, creating the surface from previously chipped wood.

Subsequent work days from the local community has seen the full construction of the wood-lined path, to create and additional loop through the forest.

Sprucing up Glassdrummond Wood

Update published on: March 31, 2016


With the path giving access to most of the site we worked in partnership with pupils from St. Brigid’s Primary School and the local community to remove the years of rubbish that had been dumped on the site.

After hours of work and countless runs with bags to the skip outside the forest we had our sizeable skip completely full to bursting. It was quite fortunate that the blessing of the graves was the following weekend and the local church had put a very large skip in the nearby graveyard to facilitate the tidying of the graves, which we were able to use for our overflow.

It was a fantastic community effort and the forest is already looking much more welcoming for the effort.

Opening up Glassdrummond Wood

Update published on: November 2, 2015


Standing next to St. Brigid’s church in Glassdrummond village near Crossmaglen was a small plantation of mostly conifers. Over the years as the trees grew bigger, they blocked out most of the light from the forest floor, creating a rather dark, dank and uninviting place. So much so that it became generally used as a dumping ground for household and farm litter.

However, Father King, the local Parish Priest could see the potential of Glassdrummond wood as a community resource. He worked doggedly over a 10 year period to find funding and community buy-in to improve the forest. With the aid of the AONB officer, a successful application was made to the Challenge Fund to create a simple loop footpath and access gates into the wood this year.

Lottery Funded
NIEA DoE N&M DC Biodiversity

Quick Contact

Ring of Gullion AONB
Crossmaglen Community Centre,
O’Fiaich Square,
BT35 9AA.

Tel: +44 (0)330 137 4898


Visitor Servicing and Attractions: 0330 137 4046

for any visitor servicing questions.

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