Who art near Aughrim,
Wolfgang Woods be thy name.”
About The Wolfgang Forest
Our first reforestation project is deep in the River Ow valley just beyond Aughrim in Co Wicklow. We have bought 15 beautiful acres, bordered by the Wicklow Way walking trail on one side and the River Ow on the other. 300 years ago this was part of the famous Shillelagh oak woods which was clear-felled under British rule in the 1600s.
In 1606 it was reported to the crown that Britain’s shipbuilding requirements could be supplied by the Shillelagh woods for 20 years. Many British merchants at that time preferred to have their boats built with Irish wood in Ireland. After the great fire of London in 1666, the Shillelagh Woods were further deforested to rebuild London, in fact using Shillelagh wood in Dublin was outlawed as it was in such short supply. By 1700 forest cover in Ireland was down to a meagre 2% and it was said: “they had not left enough wood to make a toothpick”.
Fast forward three centuries and this land was being used for livestock and is now surrounded by single-species Sitka-spruce plantations.
Wolfgang is now reforesting this land to its former glory as a Native Irish Woodland. Unlike the Sitka Spruce plantations which surround, this diverse forest will act as a breeding ground for wildlife, provide rich nourishment for the soils and revitalise the waters of the River Ow which locals tell us was once replete with salmon.
Nearby Tomnafinnoge Wood is the very last vestige of the Shillelagh woods and is actually the oldest coppiced woods in Europe. This provides us with a unique opportunity to use Tomnafinnoge acorns, in their locality, as part of our reforestation efforts to ensure we are propagating the actual ancient DNA of the lost great woods of Shillelagh.
In spring 2019, with the guidance of Andrew St Ledger, a Native Woodland Specialist and PRO of the Woodland League we planted 1,000 trees using our own adapted version of the Miyawaki Method. The Miyawaki Method promises far faster growth and richer biodiversity. By Autumn 2020 many of the trees were 7-8 feet high. This is remarkable growth. 2-3 foot growth per year is what is normally expected. 6 feet plus in year one is unprecedented.
We estimate we’ve space to plant a further 20,000 fast-growing native trees here with the help of our supporters. Once we’ve reforested this land, the funds raised in doing so will allow us to acquire another larger plot to reforest.
Want to get involved?
Join the growing movement.
Plant Trees With Us.
The bigger the ‘gang the more of our land, Ireland, we can reforest.