In December 2018, the Woodland Trust commissioned Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland (ORNI) to undertake an Access and Interpretation Strategy for the Faughan Valley.
The Access and Interpretation Strategy was to be used specifically to inform the Woodland Trust and partners in the Faughan Valley of the work required to make the area a ‘must see’ visitor destination in Northern Ireland with the Woodland Trust’s estate acting as a ‘woodland hub’ and driving force for bringing wildlife and people together. The Strategy’s recommendations would also form an integral part of the Woodland’s Trusts application to the National Heritage Lottery for a grant towards a wider project of revitalising the Faughan Valley landscape.
The Woodland Trust was successful in obtaining a grant of £483,400 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in January 2020. As well as creating a ‘resilient wooded landscape’ by restoring, protecting and connecting the vulnerable fragment of ancient woodland in the Faughan Valley area, the funding will also, as recommended in the Access and Interpretation Strategy,
- Transform the area into the go-to destination for woodland in Northern Ireland
- Create a sense of identity for the Faughan Valley area
- Give visitors more opportunities to experience and access the woods
- Increase visitor numbers and encourage a wider range of audiences to explore and learn about the ancient woodlands of the Faughan Valley
- Communicate clear and consistent messages throughout all sites
- Rekindle people’s relationship with trees and woods through volunteering opportunities