The new year is upon us and it’s a great time of the year for getting outside and taking in the beauty of nature.
In winter, woods take on a whole new character - spectacular, frosty landscapes. Perfect for enjoying nature’s sights and sounds while burning off some of those extra calories!
Crunch through frosty leaves, discover ancient hidden history or spot some elusive wildlife – a woodland walk could spring up surprises you’ll never forget.
Of course a visit is free and you’ll feel great after too.
Here are some great woods across across Derry to visit during the festive season:
Drumnaph Wood, Maghera
Drumnaph occupies a ridge above the meandering Grillagh River, which allows you to enjoy the views west to Carntogher Mountain and the beautiful Sperrin Mountains.
With over 30,000 trees planted in recent years, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was relatively young woodland, but actually, around 50% of the site is ancient woodland, making it a rare remnant of the great forest that once covered much of mid-Ulster.
Winter provides a good chance to spot Irish hare as they are often seen around the edges of the woodland and in the surrounding fields in the colder months of the year.
This rare and irreplaceable ancient woodland has a magical feel, with carpets of bluebell, celandine and wood anemone in the spring. It is home to the red squirrel, sparrowhawk and long-eared owl and offers terrific views overlooking Derry city, as well as the River Foyle.
Look out for the wooden sculptures created by Michael Rodgers that watch over the woods.
There’s a squirrel, fox, hedgehog and butterfly to spot as you wander through the woodland.
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