Back to reserve map


A woodland with waterfalls and a riverside walk, spring sees a great display of flowers

Habitats: Woodland and river.

Notable species: Cow parsley (uncommon on the Island), greater horsetail and wood warbler.

Description: Cooildarry derives its name from darragh (oak tree) and cooil (nook).

It is a deep wooded valley forming the upper part of Glen Wyllin through which the Ballalonna river runs in a series of waterfalls over an ancient bed of Manx slates.

The present woodland owes much of its character to planting in the Victorian era. Nowadays the canopy of woodland is varied with elm, ash alder, sycamore and beech the dominant species. Oak, chestnut, lime, hazel, silver birch, hawthorn, blackthorn and holly are among other trees present.

The woodland also includes exotic species including Rhododendron, Portugal and cherry laurel and Corsican pine.

Mosses, liverworts, horsetails and ferns all grow in profusion in the moist shady conditions.

Over 50 species of fungi have been recorded.

In springtime, the woodland floor is carpeted with primrose, wood anemone, wood sorrel, lesser celandine and bluebell. Opposite-leaved golden saxifrage spreads freely over the moister areas. Boggy patches in the valley floor, more open to sunlight, support yellow flag and hemlock water dropwort.

Over 50 species of bird have been recorded, 35 breed in the area including raven and sparrowhawk.

Management: For many years the main work of the Trust at this site was to reinstate some of the paths including sections of boardwalk and a number of bridges.

Most of the present work is concentrated on maintaining these facilities in a safe condition.

Gaps created in the canopy through, for example, wind blow are being planted up with native species. Rhododendron is being controlled in some parts of the site. Standing or fallen dead wood is left to decay in situ for fungi and beetles where it is safe to do so. Attempts have been made to reinstate two ornamental ponds.

Species and habitats


Nearby nature reserves

Glen Dhoo
2 miles - Manx Wildlife Trust
Close Sartfield
4 miles - Manx Wildlife Trust
Lough Gat-e-Whing
6 miles - Manx Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Opposite entrance to Glen Wyllin campsite
Peel to Kirk Michael Road
Isle of Man
Map reference
Great for...
historical interest
spring flowers
Best time to visit
Mar - May
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
7.30 hectares

Terrain can be difficult around the reserve and is not suitable for wheelchair users. Contact the Trust for more information.
Parking is available at the entrance to Glen Wyllin campsite on the Peel to Kirk Michael Road or in a small layby one mile south east of Kirk Michael on the TT course
Dogs must be on lead
Reserve manager
Tricia Sayle, Reserves Officer
Tel: 01624 844432