Crom's landscape

The old castle ruins at Crom

Crom has a varied terrian from woodlands to wetlands, making it a perfect home for a huge variety of plants and animals. This diversity of habitats means Crom is an important conservation site.

Broadleaved Woodland

Ireland has very little native broadleaved woodland remaining but Crom is home to a large portion of it. The woodland here is dominated by oak which is known to support the greatest diversity of life in terms of lichens, mosses, invertebrates and even birds and mammals. Much of our woodland is known as wet woodland due to its proximity to Lough Erne. This habitat is important for the alder buckthorn shrub which supports the rare dark umber and brown scallop moth. Part of our work involes managing feral grazing and making sure the woodlands aren't overcome with invasive species such as rhododendron to ensure the they don't lose their character and diversity.

Bluebells amongst the trees in the Culliaghs at Crom
Bluebells amongst the trees at Crom estate
Bluebells amongst the trees in the Culliaghs at Crom

Grasslands

Crom is also home to large areas of species-rich grassland teeming with life, from a huge range of wildlflowers to a whole host of invertebrates. Our grasslands are generally quite wet which gives them their own character and a particular mix of species. Flowers like ragged robin, meadowsweet and purple loosestrife love the soggy ground and support a variety of bee, butterfly and moth species who in turn support the dragonfly and damselfly species who prey on them. This grassland takes careful management as without grazing or regular cutting the grasslands would swallow up the diverse flora, decimating the array of invertebrates that depend on them.

Meadowsweet growing along the banks of Lough Erne
A view across Lough Erne to the Summerhouse at Crom
Meadowsweet growing along the banks of Lough Erne

Freshwater

Another important habitat at Crom is Lough Erne itself. The waters support a number of fish including perch, bream, brown trout and eels. Fishing has brought many people to the shores of Lough Erne over the years but it also brings some of our most loved wildlife, like the herons, great crested grebes and otters.

A heron silhouetted in a tree at Crom
A heron perching in a tree at Crom estate
A heron silhouetted in a tree at Crom

Parkland

Parkland is the combination of grazing pasture and mature broad-leaved trees such as oak and ash. The main entrance to Crom is surrounded by this parkland with the sheep and cattle keeping the grass short during the growing season and large trees providing shelter in the rain. This habitat supports a great diversity of bird species which love searching for worms in the short turf and exposed soil torn up by the livestock. You’ll often see pied wagtails and starlings as well as fieldfares and redwings during the winter, taking advantage of the buffet that’s on offer.

Deer at Crom
Group of deer
Deer at Crom

Castle ruins 

The Old Castle and Yew Trees lie at the heart of our wonderful Crom estate. Learn more about these two icons that embody the history, beauty and nature of the estate.

The Old Castle at Crom was built in the early 17th-century by a Scottish planter, Michael Balfour. The Castle and the Estate passed to the Crichton family in 1655 when Abraham Crichton married the daughter of the previous tenant, the Bishop of Clogher.

The 'old castle' ruins at Crom
The 'old castle' ruins at Crom estate, Fermanagh
The 'old castle' ruins at Crom

The castle survived two sieges by the Jacobites in 1689, but accidentally burnt down in 1764. According to a tradition, the fire took place when Abraham Crichton was returning in his boat from a housewarming party at Florence Court. Crichton saw a worrying glow in the sky to the south, and returned home to find his castle gutted.

In the 19th-century, additional walls and towers were added to the ruins of the Old Castle for romantic effect. Today, the Old Castle ruins are a secluded monument. Famous trees

Anciet Yew Trees

Close to the Old Castle ruins are Crom’s famous Yew Trees. They are a conjoined pair of a male and female yew, with a combined circumference of 377 feet (115m) and a diameter of 115 feet (35m). The larger, older female yew is of a considerable age, although how old exactly has been the subject of debate for many years.

The earliest known reference to the tree is from 1739, when it was described as an already venerable tree. The male tree is much younger, and was most likely planted in the 19th-century.