WATCH: County Derry Nature Reserve celebrates funding development
Organizers at a popular nature reserve in County Derry have organized a special tour of the facility to showcase its development over recent years.
Drumnaph Nature Reserve, jointly owned by the Carntogher Community Association and The Woodland Trust, has benefited from £596,260 of Lottery heritage funding which has transformed the area.
The funding helped the groups complete a four-year project, providing activities such as community gardening, guided walks and running groups.
Outdoor activities have also been developed, with activities such as archery, orienteering and Forest School now taking place at the Slaughtneil site.
Mid Ulster District Council chairman Cllr Paul McLean was among those who visited the reserve last week, and he praised the community’s efforts.
“It’s great to see what a community can accomplish in a short time by coming together,” he said.
“Thanks to the extensive program of community events and heritage skills workshops, I’m sure many people learned something new and enjoyed their time here.
“I am very impressed with the amount of work being done to support people’s well-being by providing activities such as community gardening, guided walks and running groups.
“Many young people have also benefited from this funding by coming to Drumnaph to participate in outdoor activities such as archery, orienteering and forest school.
The four-year project strengthened existing relationships with The Woodland Trust and Butterfly Conservation and generated research in a number of areas.
Mid Ulster District Council Chairman Cllr Paul McLean with volunteers and workers from the Cairde Dhroim nDamh project.
With the area acting as a “retreat” for locals and visitors during the Covid-19 closures, visitor numbers have increased to over 43,000 each year.
Many visitors admired the new sculptures by renowned artist Kevin Killen and the installation of two interactive educational paths; the Slí na Sí (Fairy Trail) and the Ogham Hunt.
Liam Ó Flannagáin, President of Cairde Dhroim nDamh/Friends of Drumnaph, said he was delighted to see everyone gathered at the site.
“We are delighted that representatives of the Council and our funders have joined us today to witness the success of the National Lottery Heritage Fund project,” he said.
“Members of the local community have volunteered their time over the past 10 years to support the restoration and development of this important natural heritage site.
Project coordinator Kelley Hann also praised the work of the volunteers.
‘The work that has been accomplished by volunteers through lifesaving conservation, volunteering at events and project management equals £51,615 in monetary contribution to this project,’ she said.
“We wouldn’t have done half of it without them. We have planned a small gathering for our volunteers to thank them for their hard work and support.
National Lottery Heritage Fund committee member Jim McGreevy said the project emphasizes the importance of nature.
“Landscapes and nature form the foundation of our culture and heritage, enhancing well-being and protecting and supporting the communities around them,” he said.
“Thanks to the National Lottery players who highlighted the importance of natural heritage, we are delighted to see the results of the award given to the Carntogher Community Association and Cairde Droim nDamh.
“This project highlights the value of nature in our daily lives and provided a natural connection to the region’s folklore, culture and heritage.”
Visit the Drumnaph Nature Reserve Facebook page for more information.
ADVERTISEMENT – KEEP READING BELOW