Brackloon Woods
Heritage, Things To Do

The trail goes through historic Brackloon Wood, this is a typical Atlantic oak woodland of 74 hectares dominated by sessile oak.. It represents one of the last remaining areas of Atlantic Oakwood in Ireland and is of significant national and international importance.

Many stories about caves, hidden treasure and ancient monuments are told about the wood. King Conor MacNeasa and the Red Branch Knights are reputed to have ridden along the secluded road winding its way through the hills and woods to the coast.

In 1998 there was extensive research carried out in the Brackloon area to identify distinctive stages in vegetation development since the last ice age. According to fossil pollen at Brackloon Lough, tall shrub and open woodland of birch and willow were flourishing from 9, 000 BC. From 7,000 BC to 4,500BC, the expansion of deciduous woodland such as hazel, elm, oak and birch became very prevalent. It was not until 1,200BC that human interference is suggested due to the decline in elm, oak and alder. This also coincides with an increase in human activity in the greater Clew Bay area. The dominance of this natural woodland over several thousand years suggests there were small population numbers in the area and it also emphasises the inability of Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age man to make noticable inroads on the forests.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, large-scale clearance began, mainly for export as timber and for charcoal production. During the time of British occupation, much of the woodland was cut down and exported to Britain. The oak docks in Liverpool was one such project that was built using timber from Brackloon.