Northern Ireland

Faughan Valley: Public to help plant new WW1 woodland

Chelsea Pensioners Paddy Fox and Walter Swann at a previous tree planting event in November 2014 Image copyright Michael Cooper
Image caption Chelsea Pensioners Paddy Fox and Walter Swann attended a previous tree planting event in the Faughan Valley in November 2014

A new public woodland is being created in County Londonderry to mark the centenary of World War One.

On Saturday afternoon, members of the public have been invited to take part in planting thousands of new trees at Brackfield Wood in the Faughan Valley.

The project has been organised by the Woodland Trust, and is one of four new woods being created across the UK.

Its aim is to plant "millions" of native UK trees to commemorate the millions of people who died during WW1.

'Mark on history'

The four-year project is one of the trust's most ambitious planting programmes and uses the pledge: "We will stand for those who fell."

In Brackfield Wood, the conservation charity plans to plant 40,000 trees in tribute to the estimated 40,000 people from the island of Ireland who lost their lives in the conflict.

The trust said it was inviting local people and visitors to the Faughan Valley to "get involved and to make a mark on history through the simple act of tree planting".

Image copyright Michael Cooper
Image caption Volunteers of all ages have already been involved in the Woodland Trust's four-year tree planting project

Its director, Patrick Cregg, said: "This is a special opportunity to make a personal and hands-on contribution to Brackfield Wood, still very much in its infancy. We do hope that as many people as possible will join us, roll their sleeves up, and plant a tree.

"By the end of the project, our aim is to have 40,000 native trees planted here at Brackfield, with carpets of wildflowers including iconic poppies. It will be a place where wildlife will thrive and where people can walk, relax and reflect."

'Growing tribute'

The charity is providing the saplings for members of the public to plant, and has advised volunteers to wear welly boots or "stout footwear".

Brackfield Wood is about seven miles outside Derry city, just off the Glenshane Road and limited parking is available for those taking part in the project.

"The trees, which will stand for generations to come, will be a living, growing tribute to the people from Ireland who played a part in the war: the soldiers, their families and loved ones," Mr Cregg said.