If you love woodland walks, Ballyfad Wood in north Wexford is definitely one to check out.
Ireland being Ireland, we need options on rainy days, and Ballyfad Wood, with its sheltered walks, ticks that box. As does Tomnafinnoge Woods in south Wicklow incidentally.
Anyways, four trails loop through Ballyfad Wood, set in over 200 acres of mature oak, beech, Norway spruce, Douglas fir, and Scots pine. The original woodlands were felled in World War 1 seemingly, so this woodland was planted since then.
According to the signage at the trailhead near Coolgreany, these woodlands are included in the original 1835 Ordnance Survey map. These old woodland sites are leftovers from the vast forests that covered much of Ireland prior to the 16th Century. Interestingly, like much of the woodlands in Wicklow and Wexford, Ballyfad Wood provides refuge for rebels during the 1798 Rebellion. And when you see the forest, you’ll understand how it was easy to hide away from unwanted attention.
Bluebells and fairy doors
Today, though, it’s a haven of peace, with one main artery through the woodland and trails spilling off from there. It’s an oasis of calm – fans of bluebells should bring a camera to capture the blooms in the dappled sunlight. Keep an eye out as well for the magical world hinted at by the fairy doors. Clearly, it’s not just us humans that visit Ballyfad Wood.
The terrain is easy to walk and pretty suitable for all ages and for joggers. There’s one section along the way, where the branches of the trees merge overhead to create a lush green canopy. Way nicer than the Dark Hedges from Game of Thrones, methinks!
Part of Wexford Walking Trail
Not surprisingly, Ballyfad Wood is part of Wexford Walking Trail, so there’s plenty of signage at the trailhead and coloured markers en route. Wexford Walking Trail itself is part of the Wexford Trails brand, which includes Wexford Garden Trail, Wexford Craft Trail, and Wexford Heritage Trail.
Definitely a walk to add to your bucket list.