Woodland Wanders in Fermanagh
Woodlands are one of the best places to reconnect with nature and our special places at Florence Court, Castle Coole and Crom have a variety of woodland walks to choose from.
From warm coloured autumn woodland walks, to historic ancient trees and landscapes that help make our special places in Fermanagh so special for both us and wildife, you are sure to find a woodland walk that will bring you back to nature.
Crom Estate, home of the ancient yews
Crom is home to the largest area of oak woodland in Northern Ireland and the oldest yew trees in Ireland. It is a tranquil landscape of islands, woodland and historic ruins. Set on the shores of Upper Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, this is one of the UK’s most important nature reserves.
Close to the Old Castle ruins are Crom’s famous Yew Trees. They are a conjoined pair of a male and female English 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.
The Crom Yews were the only trees in Northern Ireland to be featured on the list of the 50 Greatest British Trees drawn up by the Tree Council to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.
Florence Court, 'Mother' of all yew trees
The forest park and estate of Florence Court is home to hundreds of tree of various varitieites with a number of trails and paths open for you to explore and connect with nature. However, the there is one special Irish yew tree on the estate that is said to be the 'mother' of all yew trees.
The yew planted at Florence Court flourished, and attracted much attention from visitors and the horticultural community. Cuttings were often taken from the tree for reproduction throughout the country. It became so popular that in 1820, the tree was commercially reproduced.
The tree is female and can only be propagated from cuttings, but so many cuttings have been taken from the mother tree over the years that it has lost much of its upright shape. Despite this, we know that the tree’s modern appearance is still similar to visitors’ accounts of over 100 years ago, and it can still be visited and enjoyed today. Many young descendants of the mother tree also grow in the Pleasure Grounds at Florence Court.
The special yew at Florence Court has travelled many thousands of miles, as it is believed that almost all the Irish Yew specimens common in churchyards throughout the world come from this one tree.
Castle Coole, a woodland palace
The Beech Trail which forms an important back drop to the mansion is a tranquil walk through unspoilt nature. The wood was planted around 1709 with a mixed group of beech, oak and scots pine. The wood still has oak trees dating back to the early 18th Century and contains the oldest trees in the park.
Previous names for the Beech Wood Walk include the ‘Ladies Walk’ and the ‘Blue Bell Walk.’ The name Ladies Walk is believed to come from reports that it was a favourite walk of the daughters of the 4th Earl. The origins of the title Blue Bell Walk is evident in May when walkers will be captivated by the nation’s favourite wild flower, native blue bells.