Killaloo and nearby Brackfield Woods are showing off their new Spring look, thanks to £15,000 in funding from the Loughs Agency to the Woodland Trust.
The two woods line the banks of the River Faughan. Killaloo Wood, with its fragments of irreplaceable ancient woodland (that’s land wooded since at least 1600) and Brackfield both now benefit from enhanced entrances, improved pathways along the river’s edge and new seats and benches.
Vital work is also ongoing to stabilise the eroding river banks, which will have a knock on positive benefit for wildlife, in particular fish and animals commonly associated with rivers, such as otters.
According to the charity, the transformation comes just in time for visitors to discover the highlights of spring.
Among the inspiring sights waiting to be discovered are the shimmering carpets of bluebells that decorate the ancient woodland floor during late April and into May.
Gregor Fulton, who is the operations manager for the Woodland Trust, said the charity was delighted with the cash injection.
“Thanks to grant-aid from the Loughs Agency, we’re delighted to be able to invite nature lovers to discover the two woods in their full seasonal glory,” he said.
“Although on the doorstep of the city, this a quiet corner of nature, far removed from the hustle and bustle.
“Chances are you’ll be alone with your thoughts, with the exception of the valley’s precious wildlife, and possibly a fisherman or two in search of the River Faughan’s trout and salmon.
“Our ultimate aim is to create a continuous stretch of woodland and riverside walks, and this is a valuable beginning,” Greg said.
In addition to the well-loved bluebell, keep a look out for other woodland beauties.
Plants which can be found along this stretch of the Faughan River include such beauties as wood anemone, wood sorrel, wild garlic and hart’s-tongue fern, which adorns the ancient woodland at Killaloo.
Those who want to see some wildlife will not be disappointed either as birds common to the area include the kestrel, jay and kingfisher.
Otters have been spotted nearby, as has the purple hairstreak butterfly. It is one of the rarest butterflies in Northern Ireland and is confined to oak woodland. It has been sighted here.
With a valley location, Killaloo Wood is steep in parts and stout footwear is required.
To become a Guardian of the Woods, helping the Trust to protect woodland and wildlife, visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/guardian