Raven Nature Reserve – trees, trails, and time by the sea

Raven Nature Reserve at Curracloe in Co Wexford combines my twin loves in a walk – woodland and sea views!

Essentially, the Nature Reserve at Raven Wood has the magnificent Curracloe Beach to the east. And, on the west, sheltered by the Corsican pines of the Wood, lie the North Slobs. The Slobs are home to wild goose populations in winter, making them an important habitat.

Jogging at Raven Nature Reserve
It’s easy to walk, jog, cycle, or push a buggy on the main trail.

So, if you stay in the wood and do the looped walk, it takes about 1.5 hours to complete the almost 7km trail. Underfoot, it is an easy terrain. There’s no ascent, except up the sand dunes on the east to get to the beach. Along the way, there are benches to rest up if you need to. And, better still, trails through the woodland at regular intervals to get to the beach!

Curracloe Beach and Raven Nature Reserve
Trails through the woodland lead to the sandy paradise that is Curracloe Beach.

We stayed in the woodland (skipping the beach for once). That was a great decision – we got to enjoy narrow meandering trails and wonderful views of the coastline through the trees (see above!).

History

The Raven Nature Reserve has an interesting history. It’s run now by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and was originally a sand spit protecting the entrance to Wexford Harbour. In the mid-1800s, the North Slobs was created, effectively landlocking the sand spit. The Toole family of Curracloe House planted the original trees in the same time period. However, the Department of Agriculture planted most of the trees from the 1930s onwards.

trees at raven nature reserve, co wexford
Trees were first planted here in the 1800s.

Aside from the Corsican pines, you’ll be able to spot Douglas Fir, Maritime Pine, Shore Pine, Scots Pine. Others to spot include Grey Willow, Creeping Willow, and Sycamore.

Birds

According to the NPWS, one-third of the world’s population of Greenland and White-fronted Geese spend winter in this area. They feed by day on the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve. Then, they return each evening to roost in the sand bar, on the southern tip of the Raven.

Beach

sand at curracloe beach
Sporting the windswept look on Curracloe Beach!

Of course, special mention goes to the amazing beach at Curracloe. It stretches from the Special Area of Conservation at Raven Point to Ballyconniger Head. That’s a nice 10-mile walk if you’re feeling up to it! And part of this stretch of sand, Ballinesker Beach, features in Steven Spielberg’s film, “Saving Private Ryan”. Filmed in 1997, you’ll recognise the beach in the film’s D-Day landings.

Soft, wind-blown sand covers the whole beach and watch the wind whip foam off the waves. This adds a wonderful dimension to the woodland walk at Raven Nature Reserve.

sandy curracloe beach
It’s hard to beat Curracloe Beach on a good day!

This is a walk that has it all – it’s in the sunny South East, the cool shade and green calm of the woodland. And, when you add in the amazing beach in Curracloe, you’ve got a walk that few will rival!

2 thoughts on “Raven Nature Reserve – trees, trails, and time by the sea

  1. looks fantastic dying to go there where is the nature reserve entrance from curraloe beach car park
    thanks

    1. Hi Carmel, it is fantastic.
      To get to the entrance, head towards Curracloe beach from Curracloe village. There’s a right-hand turn that will take you down to the Reserve car park. If you miss the turn and hit the beach, you’ve gone too far…!
      Although, if you walk south on the beach for a bit, you’ll be able to walk up the dunes and into the woodland.
      Enjoy!
      ~ Deirdre

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