Sand Dune Restoration works at the Raven Nature Reserve, Curracloe, Co. Wexford to commence on Monday 16th January

Date Released: Thursday, January 12, 2023

  • Coillte Nature and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) are teaming up to carry out biodiversity restoration works at the Raven Nature Reserve, Curracloe, Co. Wexford.
  • The works to restore precious sand dune habitats at the Raven Nature Reserve are expected to start on Mon 16th January with some temporary restrictions on access to walking trails.
  • These works are part of an EU-funded project called LIFE Insular, which aims to protect and conserve sand dune ecosystems in partnership with local communities.

Coillte Nature and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) are teaming up to carry out biodiversity restoration works at the Raven Nature Reserve, Curracloe, Co. Wexford.

Coillte and the NPWS will be restoring sand dune habitats and improving the long-term natural value of the Raven. These works will involve felling non-native trees at the southerly tip of the site, with upgrading of the main walking path.

To facilitate these works, access to the reserve will be temporarily restricted on weekdays from Monday 16th January for up to three weeks. Additional works are expected to take place until April with access to walking trails restricted at times, while further sand dune restoration will take place in the Autumn 2023.

As the Raven is part of a Special Area of Conservation, the works will be carried out in a responsible way to minimise any disruption to wildlife. Access to the Raven will remain largely open during this time, but some trails will be temporarily diverted with access restricted. The public is urged to take care while works are being carried out and follow any safety signage and instructions.

"Sand dunes are beautiful natural places that are home to hundreds of plant and animals" said Aoife Delaney, Coastal Ecologist at NPWS. "What’s more, they help us by providing a recreational amenity, reducing the impacts of storms on the coast and giving refuge to pollinators. It is important to think about how we will manage these areas into the future to ensure that we can get the best from this priceless resource."

These works are part of an EU-Funded LIFE Insular project that will see Coillte Nature and the NPWS taking steps in collaboration with local communities, to protect and conserve sand dune areas.  

Dr Ciaran Fallon, Director of Coillte Nature added:

 "The Raven Nature Reserve is of huge value, not only locally but it is a site of significance on a European level. The biodiversity works here and at other LIFE Insular project sites will enhance the important sand dune habitats, improving their resilience in the face of the challenges posed by climate change and biodiversity loss."

The five-year LIFE Insular project will work with local communities and scientific experts to develop long-term conservation management plans for these areas. The aim is to increase the biodiversity value and resilience of these ecosystems in the face of climate change and rising sea levels, so that future generations can continue to enjoy these popular areas in a sustainable way.

Four iconic locations on the Irish coast have been selected for this project: The Raven Nature Reserve, Curracloe, Co. Wexford; Murvagh, Co. Donegal; Ards Forest Park, Co. Donegal and Rinclevan /Horn Head, Co. Donegal. The selected locations are not only areas of high biodiversity value and natural beauty but are also popular recreational sites for locals and visitors to the areas.

Earlier this year, Coillte launched its new forestry strategic vision which aims to deliver multiple benefits from its forests and bring more focus to climate action, setting ambitious new targets on biodiversity and recreation, while continuing to deliver for the forest and wood products industry.  The new approach aims to sustainably balance and deliver the multiple benefits from Ireland’s state forests across four strategic pillars:  climate, wood, nature, and people.