Northern Ireland news

Drumnaph Wood in Co Derry gets boost from carrier bag levy

Drumnaph Wood, near Maghera in Co Derry has benefited from the levy on shopping bags. Picture by Michael Cooper

ONE of the north's natural gems has taken on a new look, thanks to funding from the levy on shopping bags.

Drumnaph Wood, near Maghera in Co Derry, is one of the few remaining fragments of woodland that once covered mid-Ulster.

Dating back to 1599, it is one of four Woodland Trust sites to share a £38,000 grant from the 5p charge on plastic bags paid to the Department of the Environment.

Others to benefit are Kilcooley Wood in Bangor, Oakfield Glen in Carrickfergus and Canal Wood, near Poyntzpass.

At Drumnaph Wood, the money has gone towards new benches and picnic tables, inviting walkers to stop to take in the beauty of this tranquil corner of nature.

New trees and around 250 metres of boardwalk, complete with a dipping platform, are also now located in the adjoining wetland area.

Visitors can feast on the springtime carpets of bluebells, wood anemone, wood sorrel and primrose throughout the woodland, while special mammals visiting the woodland edges include the otter and elusive Irish hare.

Rosie Irwin from the Woodland Trust said: "Historical evidence gathered from old maps and estate records, combined with natural features, trace Drumnaph Wood back as far as 1599.

"As such, it's one of Northern Ireland’s precious and irreplaceable ancient woods.

"The old wood is adjoined by wetland, equally rich in wildlife. And we're now delighted to open up this area, thanks to a new boardwalk.

"The dipping platform itself is designed to accommodate a class of around 30 primary school children, giving them the chance to take a closer look at the variety of mini-beasts at home here."

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