Harvestman Wood

Harvestman Wood, Lisburn, County Antrim | Woodlands.co.uk


Establishing a new woodland on a bare site, especially a fertile ex-agricultural site, has many challenges. Chief among these is the competition the young trees face from weed growth. Harvestman Wood, whilst only a little over a decade old, has overcome these challenges in spades and is well established and growing rapidly, with the choice of reliable, fast-growing ash being a good one on this south facing lowland site.

The access track leads through woodland and open meadow from Dagger Road which is within easy striking distance of the M1, Lisburn and Moira. The end of the track enters Harvestman Wood across a small culvert over a drainage ditch and through a hedge where it broadens out into a neat parking area. All the woodland on this far side of the hedge will belong to the new owners.

The woodland is very open under the light canopy – ash is self-pruning, so you can wander at will without having to fight your way through dense branches. The wood was planted across two fields divided by a thorn hedge, and by lightly pruning some of the trees, a way has now been made which winds through a natural south-facing glade surrounded by ashes and oaks, to a newly created opening in the hedge which gives access to the second wooded field.

Field hedgerows have been retained to form the boundaries between the wood and adjacent farmland. They have been allowed to grow on to produce dense thickets of hawthorn and blackthorn, with holly and plentiful dog rose thrown in for good measure. All these fruit bearing plants have the potential to produce a useful bounty of berries and foliage, for wild animals, birds and humans. To the south lies an arable field which, along with the discovery of prongs from an old pitchfork, and an abundance of harvestmen (a long-legged relative of the spider) in September, gives Harvestman Wood its name.

The crop of ash will soon be ready for thinning, if the new owner chooses to do so, which will provide a bumper harvest of firewood of a perfect size for a wood stove or log boiler. Combined with the firm ground conditions and good all weather track access this would be a straightforward operation for a contractor or a suitably competent owner. Repeated periodically over a number of coupes, this has the potential to provide a never-ending, sustainable supply of carbon neutral fuel.

In addition to the ash there are around two dozen small groups of oak throughout the area, and a few groups of Scots pine, which add to the diversity. Many of the oaks are growing well and show promising form, and, with judicious pruning and thinning, will make for valuable timber in the future.

There are jays, buzzards and kestrels active within the wood, and the fruiting hedgerows are a haven for nesting songbirds. The jays have surely been responsible for sowing some acorns which are now starting to grow into the next generation of oaks, and other trees are germinating freely too, including hawthorn, hazel and ash. This is remarkable in such a young woodland and shows its potential for diversifying the range of tree species, which could be done by opening up gaps in the ash trees and planting or allowing natural regeneration to take its course.

Recently, ash dieback, commonly known as Chalara, has been found at Harvestman Wood. Grants are available from the Forest Service to mitigate against its impact through increasing the diversity within the woodland. This could be by felling small groups of ash trees and planting other more shade tolerant species , such as oak, beech or sycamore, in the gaps. A biodiverse woodland, with a variety of native tree species spanning a range of ages, is robust and provides the best wildlife habitat, Harvestman Wood has great potential for this, as well as offering so much enjoyment in its current form.

Harvestman Wood was planted under a Woodland Grant Scheme (WGS) in 2007. Under the terms of the scheme the woodland should be maintained in accordance with good forestry practice and the land should not be returned to agriculture for at least 30 years. In practice, these restrictions are not onerous and the new owner(s) will be able to enjoy all the benefits of watching their adolescent woodland mature without interference. Standard management techniques such as thinning, improving access and introducing new species are all acceptable.

The purchasers of the woodland will be asked to enter into a covenant to ensure the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of adjoining woodlands and meadows.

Access, tracks and footpaths

Access is along a stoned track between the road and the wood’s entrance. There is a full right of way with mainentance contribution according to use made.

Rights and covenants

The purchasers of the woodland will be asked to enter into a covenant to ensure the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of adjoining woodlands and meadows.


Harvestman Wood lies 3 miles west of Lisburn.

1.Click here for Bing Maps Directions enter your own postcode, (the coordinates for the entrance on Dagger Road are already entered) .

2. For Satnav: the nearest postcode is BT28 2TJ on Dagger Road, as shown by the red dot on the maps: the coordinates are: N54.506648 W6.1194475 for the entranceway.

Park outside the gate, climb the gate and walk along the stoned track for about ¼ mile and the entrance to Harvestman Wood will be in front of you.

Travelling from Belfast and Lisburn, take the A3 Moira Road from Lisburn. In the village of Maze, turn right at the crossroads onto Dagger Road.

Travelling from the west, exit the M1 at Junction 9, take the A3 towards Lisburn, and turn left at the crossroads in the village of Maze onto Dagger Road.

After ¼ mile you will find the entrance on the left via a timber gate.

Travelling from the north, take the A26 past Belfast International Airport until you reach Upper Ballinderry. Turn left onto the B104 Ballinderry Road. After about 4 miles turn right onto Cross Lane opposite Magheragall Church. After ½ mile the road forks right to become Dagger Road, and the entrance is ½ mile further on on your right via a timber gate.

Then as above in Italics.

Share this
Posted in Wildfeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *