Ballyronan Wood's diverse wildlife
Pete Jonno finds a rich natural heritage on the banks of Lough Neagh
Ballyronan Wood is a five acre wet woodland sitting on the western shores of Lough Neagh, close to Ballinderry, and is one of the one of the best places to really appreciate the diversity of wildlife and natural beauty that the Lough brings to Northern Ireland.
Owned and operated by Cookstown District Council, Ballyronan Wood includes a woodland nature trail, a sailing marina, a fully serviced caravan park and a restaurant.
But the attraction of the Wood goes well beyond these facilities. Put simply, Ballyronan Wood is defined by Lough Neagh. The wood provides a range of stunning views across the Lough, but also the opportunity to get a close up view of the whole range of bird life that lives there.
Swans glide past the woodland paths just feet away from walkers, whilst ducks quack their way along, both in the Lough and along the trails. The Lough here is home to Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Tufted Duck and Great Crested Grebes.
And it is not just the aquatic life that is there to be enjoyed by nature lovers. The Woods themselves are made up of Alder, Willow, Ash, Hawthorn, Oak and Chestnut Trees, densely packed along the pathways and providing a thick canopy and a lush environment from which to enjoy the Lough.
Such is the natural richness of the Wood that plans are underway to achieve a Local Nature Reserve designation for the area, recognising and protecting the Woods for the enjoyment of future generations.