More than 13,000 trees are set to transform an old landfill site into a community woodland near Bellaghy.
Over 100 pupils from six local schools will be participating in the project over three days at the former Ballymacombs landfill site, which will see native broadleaf trees, including Birch, Alder, Rowan, Hazel, Crab Apple and many more native species planted across 6 hectares.
Owned by Mid Ulster District Council, the former landfill facility has been capped for several years and is next to Toner’s Bog, an Area of Special Scientific Interest which inspired the work of the Nobel Laureate and celebrated poet, Seamus Heaney.
Its change to woodland is a fitting next stage in the land’s use, according to the Chair of the Council’s Environment Committee, Councillor Ronan McGinley:
“There are very clear social and environmental benefits in a project which is transforming land which has been used to bury waste into what will ultimately be a green space for local residents to enjoy.
“I’m delighted to see so many of our local children participating in the tree-planting and, like them, look forward to seeing the trees established to create a new woodland”.
The planting scheme is being managed by Carolyn Trimble of IndiWoods, an Armagh based woodland consultancy which specialises in securing funding for farmers and landowners who wish to plant trees on their land and which encourages native woodland planting. The project is funded via the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Forestry Expansion Scheme and the Woodland Trust providing £26K towards the cost of the trees and their maintenance over the next three years.
“IndiWoods is very excited to have successfully secured 100% funding to enable the creation of Ballymacombs Community Woodland,” commented Ms Trimble.
“Not only will this provide valuable wildlife habitats, it will also enhance the surrounding landscape and provide a place for people to visit and enjoy.
“The planting of over 13,000 native trees will also store an amazing 2,500 tonnes of carbon during its lifetime.
“We are really looking forward to working with the local school children who will hopefully enjoy their tree planting experience.”
The participating schools are: Knockloughrim P.S.; St. Mary’s P.S., Bellaghy; St. Brigid’s P.S., Mayogall; St. John Bosco’s P.S., Ballynease; St. Mary’s College, Clady; and Bellaghy P.S.