A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Northern Ireland's woodland, wildlife and people

Killaloo WoodKillaloo Wood
Killaloo Wood
The Woodland Trust has an exceptional opportunity to fit the missing and final pieces of a landscape jigsaw in the beautiful Faughan Valley, not far from the city of Derry/Londonderry.

The conservation charity is appealing for support to acquire strategically-placed land, with new planting set to offer a glorious stretch of woodland for walkers, and a continuous safe haven for the valley’s wild inhabitants.

Here, the trust already cares for a mosaic of woodland. At the heart of the group and still in its infancy is Brackfield Wood: a First World War Centenary Wood, planted as a unique and lasting tribute to those who lost lives and loved ones during the war. This gem nestles between Oaks Wood to the north and Killaloo Wood – an enchanting and ancient bluebell woodland – to the south.

The proposed acquisition, of three pockets of land, would fulfil the trust’s dream to directly link all three woods; with a fourth member of the family, Burntollet Wood, just a stone’s throw away. In all, the trust’s Faughan Valley landholding would increase to a hearty 64 hectares of woodland and greenery.

Woodland Trust woods in the Faughan ValleyWoodland Trust woods in the Faughan Valley
Woodland Trust woods in the Faughan Valley

Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust, explains: “We’ve dreamt of this opportunity since the trust’s earliest days in Northern Ireland. And now, we’ve an unmissable opportunity to add the missing pieces to this stunning landscape jigsaw.

“Our ambition is to connect the existing woods creating a robust wooded landscape and an extended haunt for the valley’s precious wildlife, which includes red squirrels and otters.

“Ultimately, we want to give everyone – local people and visitors – the chance to explore this incredibly beautiful part of the country, with its rolling hills, pockets of ancient woodland and the stunning River Faughan. New access and pathways would open up miles of woodland and riverside walks – and all on the doorstep of the city.”

Northern Ireland ranks badly as the least-wooded country in the UK and indeed one of the sparsest in Europe, with only 8 per cent woodland cover compared to the European average of 44 per cent. And with pressures such as development and tree disease, every opportunity to protect and bolster this fragile resource is truly precious.

The beautiful River FaughanThe beautiful River Faughan
The beautiful River Faughan

The Woodland Trust has a target to raise at least £20,000 through a public appeal. Donations will contribute to an overall project cost of £1 million.

To play a part, please call 0330 333 3300 or visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/faughan.