Know before you go
Parking informationPark on roadside, near the old quarry - do not obstruct the gates.
No formal paths - medium terrain with steep inclines. Trail: 1.2 miles.
Open to the public.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitMay to September
About the reserve
Perched above the village of Glenarm, this secluded hazel woodland, interspersed with species-rich grassland clearings, is a little slice of heaven for nature-lovers.
A spring visit reveals just why the wood is so well-known for its plant life. The ground is awash with wildflowers such as bluebells and lesser celandine, along with more unusual species such as wood vetch, stone bramble and parasitic toothwort, which craftily takes its nutrients from tree roots. So, too, do two other rarities including the parasitic bird’s-nest orchid and yellow bird’s nest (Dutchman’s pipe).
There are birds a-plenty, with summer being the best time to experience their operatics and busy activity. Listen out for breeding birds such as blackcap, willow warbler and chiff-chaff, while buzzard, sparrowhawk, long-tailed tit and bullfinch can be seen or heard at any time of year.
In the sunny glades, you may spot the delicate cryptic wood white butterfly or the spectacular silver-washed fritillary, as well as more common species like meadow brown and ringlet.
Despite being one of Ulster Wildlife’s smaller nature reserves, Straidkilly is a wonderful refuge for mammals. Red squirrel, Irish hare, badger, Irish stoat, pine marten and pygmy shrew live in the woodland, while the picnic area, with its panoramic views across the Irish Sea to Scotland, is a great spot to watch for cetaceans, such as harbour porpoise.
We cut the grassy woodland glades each year at Straidkilly to maintain the rich array of plant life for butterflies, bees, and birds. We also control non-native species, such as the notorious Himalayan honeysuckle and sycamore.