A leading conservation charity says it has the opportunity to create 10 miles of woodland and riverside walkways on the outskirts of Derry - if they can raise £50,000 to purchase the land.
The Woodland Trust already owns three woods in the Faughan Valley - Killaloo, Burntollet and the Oaks - but now says it has an “exceptional opportunity” to purchase a further 53 acres of nearby land.
They hope the public will help raise the £50,000 needed to buy the land.
Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust, said purchasing the land would create the largest native woodland creation project in the north.
“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.”
The trust said purchasing and developing the land will create almost 17 kilometres (10 miles) of woodland and riverside walks – all just a stone’s throw from the city.
To make a donation or to find out more information call 0845 293 5858 or visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/faughan