Derrycrag Wood is an old oak woodland, situated 1.5 km south-east of Woodford,Co. Galway, and is traversed by the Woodford River. The underlying rock is Old Red Sandstone, which is overlain in places by drift. The soils vary from thin, acidic podzols to deeper, gleyed brown earths.The site is dominated by planted conifers,but fragments of old oak woodland still occur. Before commercial conifer planting in the 1930s and 1940s, this would have been part of the largest oak woodlands in the country.
In the fragments remaining, the SessileOak (Quercus petraea) canopy can be up to 17m tall.The woodland also contains Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and Downy Birch (Betula pubescens), and Holly (Ilex aquifolium) and Yew (Taxus baccata) are locally abundant.Hazel (Corylus avellana) and Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) occur on the slightly richer soil.In spite of the fact that the site is dominated by planted conifers, elements of theoriginal ground flora persist, especially where mature Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) ispresent. The ground flora consists mainly of Hard Fern (Blechnum spicant), Great Wood-rush (Luzula sylvatica), Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) and Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), with an abundance and diversity of mosses in the more open areas.At onesmall location on the Woodford River bank there is a remarkably rich flora, includingthe Red Data Book species Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus) and three plant species which are otherwise scarce in Ireland: Blue-eyed-grass (Sisyrinchium bermudiana), Lesser Meadow-rue (Thalictrum minus) and Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris).Most of the site is also designated as a Nature Reserve, but an adjacent area of thinned out Scots Pine with a very diverse ground flora and an area of wet grasslandare also included. Pine Marten and Badger (both Red Data Book species), Red Squirrel, Fox and FallowDeer are all found in the wood. Bat species also forage in the area.Kestrel,Sparrowhawk and Jay are a few of the more notable bird species present in the site.