Wild Walks: Hazelwood Trail
This pocket-sized path is located at the heart of Hazelwood, Glanmire. Surrounded by housing estates and commercial properties, this little site is only 188 meters long, but shouldn’t be overshadowed by the larger woodlands located just over 300 meters left and right of the site in question.
The site is frequently used by locals to access hazelwood road from the surrounding estates and as such has a thoroughly worn-in dirt path through the centre. This wild site may look unassuming at first but in fact, acts as an important urban wildlife corridor and site for butterflies and other invertebrates. Just off the path, are tall oat grasses leading into dense vegetation of stinging nettles, creeping thistle, dock species, holly, ground Ivy, and common knapweed. Open grass, dense vegetation and woodland create structured habitats that provide food and shelter for butterfly species including Small tortoiseshell, red admiral, and speckled wood, and insects such as the shield bug, Dock bug.
From Hazelwood Road, across from Aldi carpark and from Hazelwood drive.
188 meters straight path.
Scientific Name: Ilex aquifolium
Irish Name: Cuileann
Holly is widespread across Ireland. It is characterised by its stiff, leathery, spiny leaves and red berries. These leaves are the food source for Holly blue butterfly larvae. In European folklore, Holly trees were traditionally seen as protection from lightning strikes and so were planted near houses.
Scientific name: Vanessa atalanta
Irish name: aimiréal dearg
Red admirals are migratory butterfly, coming from North Africa, Spain, Portugal, and France in the summer. They are common in gardens but can be found in all types of habitats and are active from spring all the way to October or November.
Scientific Name: Cirsium arvense
Irish Name: Feochadán Reatha
Creeping thistle is not as spiny as its cousin Spear thistle. Its flowerheads are pale purple and is usually hairless. Pollinators are attracted to this plant for its copious amounts of nectar, while birds eat the seeds. It is also a good foodplant for migratory Painted lady butterflies.
Scientific name: Coreus marginatus
Irish name: fríd copóige
The Dock bug as its name suggested is typically found on dock plants in gardens and open grassy areas. It is only found in the southern region of Ireland and typically not far inland from the coast.
Scientific name: Pararge aegeria
Irish name: Breacfhéileacán Coille
This is a very common butterfly of woodland and shady hedgerows. It is territorial and will fight off intruding butterflies and other insects. They can have two are more broods per year and as such the first generation can be seen from April to June, second generation from July to September and the third generation from August onwards.