Wexford | National Parks & Wildlife Service

Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve

Location:
A 9 km long shingle spit running north-west from the coastal village of Kilmore Quay in south Co. Wexford and adjoining foreshore.
GPS:
Latitude: 52.21
Longitude: -6.659
Area (ha.):
227

This site is of international importance because of its range of physical features, such as sand dunes, dune slacks, mudflats and salt marshes.

The site supports four protected plant species:

  • Wild Asparagus (see photo),
  • Perennial Glasswort  (for which this reserve is Ireland's main location),
  • Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass and
  • Lesser Centaury.

Wild Asparagus, Ballyteige

The rare lichen, Fulgensia fulgens, is found on the site at its only location in Ireland.

The open warm conditions of sand dunes offer a perfect environment for a wide variety of invertebrates such as ants, bees and wasps. An assortment of butterflies and moths inhabit the dunes, including Dark Green Fritillary and Small Heath. A number of noteworthy invertebrates, particularly of the family Hymenoptera (bees and wasps) are found in the Nature Reserve.

Brent Geese at Lacken, Ballyteige

The estuary behind the dunes attracts large numbers of overwintering birds including internationally significant numbers of Golden Plover, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwits, Pale-bellied Brent Geese (see photo).

The mudflats provide a rich feeding ground for waders and the saltmarsh grasses provide grazing for geese, ducks and swans.

Animals and plants of interest:
Fixed dunes occupy the central ridge of the Burrow, where they are well developed and botanically species-rich. The vegetation is predominantly low growing and contains species such as Restharrow, Common Centaury, Wild Thyme, Kidney Vetch and Birds-foot Trefoil. As the distance from the shore increases, the dunes continue to stabilise, vegetate and mature. Rain leaches calcium from the soil, causing it to become more acidic. Such an acid area is called a heath and has its own associated vegetation. Marram grass is a keystone species of sand dunes, with many other species dependent on its presence to stabilise the dune ecosystem and enable them to survive. Some fo the rarer dune plants found at Ballyteige include Spring Vetch, Birds-foot, Sea Pea and Henbane.
Established:
1987
Ownership:
State-owned

The Raven Nature Reserve

Location:
Situated 8km north-east of Wexford town.
GPS:
Latitude: 52.359
Longitude: -6.367
Area (ha.):
589

This reserve started its existence as a long narrow sand spit, sheltering the entrance to Wexford Harbour. In the mid-1880's the creation of the adjacent North Slob for agricultural purposes land locked the sand spit on its western side. The site is now part of a major sand dune system, which is largely stable except for the lagoons and sand bar at its southern tip.

Butterflies of Raven Wood - Information leaflet on varieties of butterfly at the nature reserve.

Animals and plants of interest:
Internationally important for birds. 35% of the worlds population of Greenland and White-fronted Geese spend winter in this area. They feed by day on the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve and return each evening to roost in the relative safety of the sand bar, on the southern tip of the Raven. Large numbers of waders roost here throughout the year. Little Terns nest on the shell sandy beaches and Crossbills are occasionally seen in the woods. The dunes are rich in wild flowers, including several rarities, such as the sub species of Round-leaved Wintergreen, which is found only in Ireland on the site.
Established:
1983
Ownership:
State-owned

Wexford Wildfowl Reserve

Location:
Situated on the sloblands north Wexford Harbour.
GPS:
Latitude: 52.359
Longitude: -6.416
Area (ha.):
194

Owned jointly by the National Parks & Wildlife Service and the Irish Wildbird Conservancy. The area of land owned by Wexford Wildlife Reserve was extended in 1989 by 84 ha. to 194 ha. The Reserve covers only part of the North Slob, the remainder being privately owned farmland. The Wexford Slobs and Harbour are, by their very location and geomorphological structure, a natural haven for birds. Situated on the coast, and in sight of the south east corner of Ireland, it is the closest point to Britain and the continent for birds that are migrating into or out of Ireland from a southerly direction.

Wexford Wildfowl Reserve Information Leaflet

Photo of Art at the Reserve

Animals and plants of interest:
Waders and wildfowl in particular, are attracted to the area where the flat landscape is accentuated by a number of complementary characteristics that create a safe place to feed, loaf, roost and breed. These features are dominated by the wide shallow harbour with its sandbars and mud-banks. Over 260 bird species have been recorded to date of which 69 are considered common in winter, with a further 37 being categorised as scarce. This is a wintering ground of international importance for a number of migratory waterfowl including in particular Greenland White-fronted Geese and Brent Geese, as well as Bewick Swans and Wigeon. The reserve has recorded 29 species of duck and 42 species of wader. Hares are fully protected on the Reserve and on the surrounding townlands of the North Slob.
Established:
1989
Ownership:
State-owned