Ballybrack Woods, locally known as the Mangala is located opposite the Douglas Community Park to the south. The area covers approximately 75,000m2 of semi-urban woodland, wet willow woodland, meadow, wet grassland, scrub and has the Douglas river running through it.

Once believed to be the site where beet was cultivated to feed horses that worked in the Douglas mills, the site is now named after Ballybrack House that sits on the hill behind the woodland. Conservation actions carried out by Douglas Tidy town and Cork City Council have seen the site flourish in recent years. This area of the river is the last remaining section where the public can see the river in its more natural state. The river is home to brown trout and otters and provides a food resource (insects) to leister’s bat, common pipistrelle, and soprano pipistrelle.

Trail entrance

Access the site from Church Road in Douglas or Donnybrook, Berkeley, and Calderwood Road.

Trail length

1.2 km from the community centre car park to the footbridge in Donnybrook and back. The walk can be extended another 600 metres from the footbridge to Calderwood road.

Notable Wildlife

Red fox         

Scientific Name: Vulpes vulpes

Irish Name: Sionnach

The red fox is the largest of the true foxes. Foxes live underground in dens, of which they usually have a number within their territory. They live in social groups ranging from 2 to 6 adults, although they are usually spotted alone. This is because they forage independently.


Scientific Name: Rumex acetosa

Irish Name: Samhadh bó

This perennial plant can be identified by its distinct leaves which are a deep green colour, and arrow-like in shape. It flowers between May and June and produces small red/pink flowers in upright spikes. It can be found in most grassland environments. Sorrel is an edible plant and was also used in the past to treat fevers, and bruises.

Spear Thistle

Scientific Name: Cirsium vulgare

Irish Name:    Feochadán colgach

This plant flowers from July to October and then its seeds are distributed from a feathered pappus (the tuft of featherlike hairs on the top of the plant are attached to the seeds and act as a parachute enabling seeds to be carried by the wind). Spear thistle flowers are an important source of nectar for pollinators, and their seeds are a source of food for birds.


Scientific name: Acer pseudoplatanus

Irish Name: Seiceamar

The fruits of the Sycamore are called samaras, or more commonly, “helicopters”. These fruits are dispersed by wind and insects. Sycamores act as a source of food and habitat for many insects and birds.

Lords and Ladies

Scientific Name: Arum maculatum

Irish Name: Cluas chaoin

This plant can be identified by its green spathe enclosing a brown, club shaped spadix that is scented to attract flies. In Autumn and Winter, red berries of Lords and Ladies can be seen growing on short stalks.