Waterloo Trail is situated in between Station Road and Waterloo Road. The site is composed of several habitat types including mixed broad-leaved woodland, depositing rivers and grassland which was once used for agricultural practices.

Across from the trail, on the opposite side of the N20, is the Ardamadane woods which is a designated National Heritage Area, considered important for the habitat and/or species present. Waterloo Trail is an improved agricultural grassland, but the site was acquired by the Cork City Council in 2020 with the aim of improving the walkway and creating an amenity park. Points of interest along the trail include the mill pond, which used to power the Blarney Woollen Mills, standing stones, round tower and St. Mary’s church.

The grassland’s most common species are Yorkshire-fog, Meadow Foxtail and Sweet Vernal Grass. The grassland is bordered along the east by the River Martin and so the soil is poorly drained and prone to waterlogging. The woodland and grassland support a variety of songbirds and insects, such as the blue tit, great tit, large white butterfly, and orange-tip butterfly.

Trail entrance

The best place to join is from Waterloo Road where there is ample parking.

Trail length

2.4km trail adjacent to the River Martin. Alternative you can make it a 5.6 km loop by following the Ardamadane Walk off the N20 that leads you back to the car park (if that is your starting point.

Notable Wildlife

Yorkshire fog

Scientific name: Holcus lanatus

Irish name: Féar an chinn bháin

Yorkshire fog is a long, soft grass, with a light purple flower. It can be seen throughout the year. It is considered a weed in agricultural landscape but is an important food source for caterpillars and rabbits.

Cuckoo flower

Scientific name: Cardamine pratensis

Irish name: Biolar gréagháin

This flower favours wet habitats such as marshes and damp meadows. It has four broad petals that can be lilac, pink or white in colour. They flower from April to June and is a larval food for the Orange-tip butterfly also found in this area.

Ribwort plantain

Scientific name: Plantago lanceolata

Irish name: Slánlus

Ribwort plantain is a historically old plant, with records of pollen dating back more than 5,000 years! It grows in a variety of habitats, both urban and countryside. The flowers are typically overlooked as they grow from a stubby brown inflorescence.

Sweet vernal grass

Scientific name: Anthoxanthum odoratum

Irish name: Féar cumhra

This grass can be easily spotted in a meadow due to its densely packed, spiked flowers. It is short grass, which prefers to grow in areas with lots of sun and little shade. Like other grasses, this is a food source for many caterpillars.

Orange tip

Scientific name: Anthocharis cardamines

Irish name: Barr Buí       

Orange tips can be spotted as early as April and fly from Spring to early summer. Females have a muted grey wing with a black spot on each forewing, while males have a bring orange top on each forewing, which helps to easily tell them apart. This species is found in wet meadows where their food source grows, including the cuckooflower found on site.

Large white

Scientific name:  Pieris brassicae

Irish name: Bánóg Mhór

A strong, large butterfly, the large white is common butterfly found in a variety of habitats. Larvae feed on cabbages, brussels-sprouts, and oil-seed rape to name a few. Adult females have two spots on their forewings as seen in the , while males do not.