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A massive project to restore and enhance the beautiful Faughan Valley landscape is now underway, thanks to a £1.2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Faughan Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme aims to create a vibrant natural landscape and to restore key features of the built heritage. Delivered by partners Derry City Council, the Rural Area Partnership in Derry (RAPID) and the Woodland Trust, the project will encourage local people to access and appreciate this diverse and outstanding landscape.
The natural landscape is currently in the spotlight, thanks to the project's newly appointed landscape officer, Jonathan Henderson. One of the main aims is to facilitate the creation of 100 hectares (247 acres) of new native woodland in the Valley during the course of the four-year project.
Jonathan Henderson says: "Thanks to funding from Forest Service and the Heritage Lottery Fund, we're making it easy for farmers and landowners in the Faughan Valley to turn unused areas of land into flourishing native woodland. We're offering all the help and advice they need to get their planting underway."
The Woodland Trust cites many reasons for farmers and landowners to turn unused land into woodland: trees and woodland provide shelter and shade for livestock, homes for wildlife, help prevent flooding, and improve water and air quality.
And now, with rising energy costs, more and more people are planting for wood fuel. Home-grown firewood can be available within seven to 15 years of planting, with annual sustainable supplies thereafter. Around two to three hectares of new native woodland will produce enough fuel to heat a typical three-bedroom house.
The Faughan Valley project covers a large area of 170 square kilometres (nearly 17,000 hectares) extending from the foothills of the North Sperrins, along the River Faughan, to the outskirts of the city of Londonderry.
To find out more or to apply for this year's tree-planting offer, contact Jonathan Henderson at Derry City Council on 028 7133 7498; mobile 0771 869 4172; or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the Woodland Trust, please visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk
Pictured above: Landscape officer Jonathan Henderson, who is helping landowners in the Faughan Valley to turn unused areas of land into flourishing native woodland.