The Trust has spent four years restoring and connecting the fragmented woodlands in the Faughan Valley, which has been made possible with £1.2million funding. £536,000 was provided by the Heritage Fund and further funding was received from DAERA’s Rural Development Programme. The area has now been transformed into a high-quality destination for the local community and visitors.
Creating woodland networks
Work included a 35km trail network which winds along the River Faughan underneath the recently constructed A6 road. A newly installed footbridge also connects Brackfield and Red Brae Woods.
A beautiful sculpture trail weaves through the ancient woodlands and is complete with interpretive panels to highlight its unique flora and fauna.
Faughan Valley is home to some of the last remaining pockets of ancient woodland, which is so rare it covers just 0.04% of the landscape in Northern Ireland.
Woodland Trust Project Manager Denise Murphy, said: “To be able to connect these previously fragmented woods, protect this ancient woodland and create better access for people and havens for wildlife, is a dream come true.”
Engaging the community
Conservation work included tree planting, hedgerow planting and restoration, removing invasive rhododendrons and undertaking species surveys. An activity programme worked with local schools and training was offered to volunteers to develop their skills in woodland management and conservation.
Faughan Valley Woodlands are located 10 minutes from Derry/Londonderry and one hour from Belfast. To find out more visit the Woodland Trust website.