The picturesque Faughan Valley Woodlands are made up of a collection of enchanting ancient woods, including Oaks Wood, Brackfield Wood, Red Brae Wood, Killaloo Wood, Burntollet Wood and Brackfield Bawn Wood.

What makes the Faughan Valley Woodlands so special?

Unlike the rest of the UK, only 0.04% of Northern Ireland features ancient woodland, meaning areas like the Faughan Valley Woodlands are extremely scarce and therefore must be protected.

An Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI), the Faughan Valley Woodlands are rich in flora and home to an abundance of rare and wonderful wildlife. These unique species rely on the ancient woodland here in order to survive. Otters, Atlantic salmon and lamprey swim in the Faughan River, while pine marten scurry in the trees overhead.

Trees woods and wildlife

Ancient woodland

Home to myth and legend, where folk tales began. It fuelled our ancestors and still houses thousands of species. Ancient woodland has grown and adapted with native wildlife, yet what remains only covers 2.5% of the UK.

Find out more about ancient woodland

Visit the Faughan Valley Woodlands

We care for a number of important woods that make up the Faughan Valley Woodlands, and they're all free for everyone to explore.

Why is restoring the Faughan Valley Woodlands important?

As Northern Ireland has only 0.04% ancient woodland cover, and one of the key ancient woodland sites is in the Faughan Valley Woodlands, protecting and restoring this area is of crucial importance. 

We need to protect the ancient woodland found here in order to preserve such a rare habitat. We can do this by removing invasive species such as rhododendron and by buffering these species with native trees in between them. By planting around pockets of ancient woodland we create essential corridors to support wildlife such as the pine marten. 

Only 0.04%

of Northern Ireland is made up of ancient woodland

What we're doing

Working with landowners

We are working closely with local landowners and farmers to buffer, restore and protect these small pockets of ancient woodland with tree planting, riparian planting, and by creating larger blocks of native woodland to build resilience for the future. Our MOREwoods scheme allows us to support landowners through funding, supplying saplings and offering advice. There are lots of mutual benefits for landowners planting trees, including flood reduction and carbon offsetting. Find out more about the benefits of agroforestry.

Improving visitor experience

As well as restoring and protecting these ancient woods within the Faughan Valley Woodlands, we also want to improve visitor experience and allow people to enjoy the area and all it has to offer.

With investment from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and and DAERA’s Rural Development Programme with support from Derry City and Strabane City Council, visitors can now explore the ancient woodland and the low wooded hills of this rolling valley carved from ice.

From the soaring height of the ancient trees to the tiniest wild flowers, the Faughan Valley Woodlands have secrets to uncover and surprises to seek. Relax by the rippling waters of the River Faughan, follow the poetry trail into the First World War or discover woodland sculptures nestled throughout the valley – there’s an adventure for everyone.

The Faughan Valley Woodlands include Oaks Wood, Brackfield Wood, Red Brae Wood, Killaloo Wood, Burntollet Wood and Brackfield Bawn Wood, with onward links to Ness and Ervey Wood. Discover shorter walks within each wood or follow the new interconnecting path network for a long ramble around the valley. There are three trails available to explore:

  • River Path: 3.8km
  • Sculpture Loop: 3.6km
  • Valley Trail: 8.5km.

Encouraging volunteering

Our volunteers in the Faughan Valley Woodlands are involved with everything from building leaky dams to planting and coppicing trees, to river monitoring and surveying a whole array of wildlife from bats to butterflies. We also offer accredited training for our volunteers so they can learn new skills that will enable them to help conserve their local areas. Find out more about volunteering with us.

Supporting schools and communities 

Our Acorns to Oaks programme gives local schools and communities the opportunity to create woodland on their own ground. Activities cover various stages of a tree’s lifecycle, from harvesting seeds to planting out the saplings in the Faughan Valley Woodlands. The project provides exciting new outdoor learning opportunities and has a real impact by helping transform local landscapes, making them more resilient for people and wildlife.

We also have opportunities for schools to transform their grounds and create an outdoor classroom through our school grounds programme, which in turn will provide homes for wildlife and help fight climate change. Schools can also achieve the Green Tree School Award by taking part in this programme. Communities can also take part in a similar scheme.

The John Muir Award, a certified environmental award, may be combined with the Green Tree School Award and the Acorns to Oaks programme. 

For more information or to get involved, email

Find out how we are helping landowners to create new woods

Your support matters

Thank you to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for their support of our work across The Faughan Valley Woodlands. 

The Faughan Valley Woodland Project would be impossible to deliver without our partners Northern Ireland Water and Loughs Agency, our local volunteer team, and the local schools and community groups. We're also getting support from the North West Red Squirrel Group, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland, British Trust for Ornithology NI, and Rural Area Partnership in Derry.

We need your ongoing support to continue this vital work. If you would like to support our restoration in the Faughan Valley Woodlands please contact