The sale of a stretch of riverside grassland offers up a once in a lifetime chance to connect three publicly accessible woodlands in Northern Ireland, a conservation charity has claimed.
The Woodland Trust has called on the public to help them raise the funds to purchase the 53 acres of land in the Faughan Valley, Co Londonderry.
The land, which runs along the River Faughan, sits between three existing trust owned woods. If successful in buying it, the group would plant trees to create one continuous stretch of woodland spanning 10 miles.
Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put the missing piece into a large landscape jigsaw, and we’re appealing for public support to help make our vision a reality.
“The creation of this new woodland would link and bolster the existing woods, creating a robust wooded landscape and an extended haunt for some precious wild inhabitants.
“We’ve planted 55,000 native trees at the neighbouring three Woodland Trust woods.
“The proposed planting of a further 40,000 would, collectively, represent the largest native woodland creation project in Northern Ireland.
“To the south of the site lies the Trust’s Killaloo Wood – an enchanting bluebell-carpeted oak wood that contains remnants of ancient woodland.
“To the north are Oaks Wood and our recently planted Burntollet Wood, the baby of the family. And part of the site actually adjoins Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s Ness Country Park, famous for its ancient woodland and wildlife.”
Mr Cregg said the Faughan Valley was a “honeypot for wildlife”. Species include red squirrels, otters, kingfishers and rare butterflies, he added.
The Woodland Trust has a target to raise at least £50,000.
The website www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/faughan has further information.