It is the position of Ballydehob that makes the village so attractive for anyone even with a passing interest in Natural History. Being on the Southwest coast it benefits from the climatic effects of the Atlantic Gulf Stream which contributes to the mildness conducive to the survival of a host of common and rare wild flowers and ferns as well as unusual animals such as the Kerry Slug!
It is the perfect base for exploring such well known areas of ecological interest such as the Lough Hyne Marine Natural Reserve to the east, the cliffs and seabird colonies of the Mizen to the west, the old oak woods of Glengarriff to the north, and the islands of Roaring Water Bay to the south.
However it is the location of the village in the middle of a variety of unspoilt rural landscapes, its proximity to the sea and the river running by its east edge that offers opportunities for exploration by the naturalist. A walk along any of the quiet roads leading out of the village brings you in contact with the plants of the hedgerows and roadsides. Rare plants such as the St. Patricks Cabbage (Saxifraga) and Irish Spurge (Euphorbia) are easily seen in Summer in these habitats. The brilliant red Fuschia, introduced from America, thrives in abundance. The wetter areas contain populations of Osmunda, the Royal Fern – scarce in Britain but plentiful here.
The hedgerows provide feeding and nesting areas for a large variety of birds, and the alert observer might see the Kingfisher or Dipper near the three-arch bridge. Otters are also regularly seen along the estuary, an indication of the quality of the water.
Such a short note can only touch on the wealth of wildlife, however armed with a few guides on birds, butterflies, or wild flowers you can spend many enjoyable and rewarding hours exploring this beautiful location.