Slane, Co Meath
Littlewood is a forest covering 28 hectares (70 acres). Today it comprises a varied mix of conifer and broadleaved tree species. But what is present today is the result of a long and interesting history beginning with the retreat of the glaciers from Ireland about 10,000 years ago. After the glaciers retreated, Ireland would have been a tundra-like landscape(with large lakes in the midlands) which slowly became afforested. All of the present agricultural land would have been densely forested with a mix of native broadleaved trees - Birch, Hazel, Pine, Oak, Elm, Alder and Ash. The earliest farmers of the Neolithic period (4000 - 2000 BC) began felling the forests and clearing land to plant crops and graze domestic animals. Forest clearance for farming and to supply timber for ships, cathedrals and even iron-smelting continued until the early 18th century, by which time most of the forest in Ireland had been cleared. However, with the development of the large estates began a process of planting trees - Littlewood is a good example, being planted by the Slane estate sometime before 1840. Most of the trees planted were broadleaved, primarily oak which was such a valuable building timber - large stumps of oak are common throughout the forest. However other types, non-native tree species were planted including Beech, Horse Chestnut, Sitka Spruce (from North America) and Hornbeam. The State Forest Service bought Littlewood from the Earl of Mountcharles in 1963. All the large oak were felled for commercial use and the area was replanted with a variety of species but dominantly with exotic, fast growing coniferous tree species. Subsequently, Coillte, the present owners, have managed Littlewood by combining replanting with conifers but also allowing broadleaved species to mature and dominate in some areas of the forest. This management has allowed the woodland flora and fauna to continue and contributes to great biodiversity that persists throughout Littlewood today.
Littlewood FeaturesWalking Trails,
How do I get there?Littlewood is located on the N2 Collon Road 1mile/1.6km from Slane village.
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|No of car spaces:||20|
|Contact name:||Tony Quinn|