Woodlands in general are great for wildlife, particularly birds, bats and small mammals. (click here to learn more about woodland ecology). Urban woodlands are very special as they are a ‘hotspot’ for nature in an otherwise built up area. City woodlands are quite rare and improve the quality of life for those that live in the environs.
Barna wood is located on the western edge of the city, close to the highly populated Knocknacarra suburb, and provides a valuable amenity resource for the residents of the surrounding areas as well as visitors to the region.
Barna wood has a particularly high ecological value because it is linked to other habitats of high conservation importance on an international scale, as part of the Galway Bay Complex, Special Area of Conservation (site code 000268) (Link to site synopsis on www.npws.ie ). This conservation area covers a wide area and encompasses marine and coastal habitats as well as the mixed broadleaved wood at Barna.
Barna wood is an old woodland and the 1830’s ordnance survey map show its extent similar to the present day.
The wood is classified as mixed broadleaved and non-native species such as beech and sycamore are widespread and were probably planted as part of the Barna Demesne. Oak is also frequent throughout and an understorey of holly is a feature of parts of the wood.
The wood has some interesting archaeological features such as a holy well and mass rock as well as undocumented reports of shell middens and a fulacht fiadh. Old field boundaries are also present within the wood.