An idyllic patchwork of rolling fields. Beautiful rivers. Enchanting ancient woodland.
This is the stunning Faughan Valley in Northern Ireland where we have bought a new piece of land, thanks to our partnership with Nationwide Building Society.
Nationwide’s employees and members are an energetic bunch and planted 4,000 trees on a beautiful spring day in this special landscape. These will of course turn into a flourishing woodland. It was a real team effort with eyes very much on a green future for the area with local school girl, Faith Divin, six, also planting some saplings. Excited by these new trees so close to home, the nature loving youngster had drawn a special picture about the partnership.
Nationwide has committed to planting around 60,000 trees with us to reduce its carbon footprint and provide long lasting benefits to local communities.
"We are pleased to be helping create another beautiful woodland in Northern Ireland, which not only helps us reduce our environmental impact, but provides long lasting benefits to the local community for generations to come."
It has also pledged the funding required to create five acres of new woodland on this particular site alone, and will be running a campaign with its employees in Northern Ireland to name it over the coming weeks.
We own some 180 acres of land in the Faughan Valley – including recently planted trees and ancient woodland.
With new planting, we are on a mission to link the pockets of precious old woods that dot the banks of the River Faughan.
We aim to open up miles of woodland and riverside walks, and to create a continuous corridor for the valley’s wild inhabitants, which includes the vulnerable red squirrel.
Patrick Cregg is the director of Woodland Trust North Ireland and said:
"At five acres this piece of land may be relatively small, but it’s a vital piece of our Faughan Valley jigsaw. It’s directly north of, and will provide access into, young Oaks Wood. And we’ve plans to link with our line-up further south, which includes Killaloo Wood, an enchanting and ancient bluebell wood.
"Ultimately we want to give everyone – local people and visitors – the chance to explore this incredibly beautiful part of the country, with its rolling hills and renowned River Faughan. The support from Nationwide is instrumental in helping us move another step closer to achieving our dream."
Lynn Forrester, Sustainability Manager at Nationwide, said:
"We are pleased to be helping create another beautiful woodland in Northern Ireland, which not only helps us reduce our environmental impact, but provides long lasting benefits to the local community for generations to come. As a mutual, run for the benefit of our members, we want to do the right thing in terms of building a sustainable business, and it’s great to see our members and employees getting involved to help create the new woodland site. This is part of our mission to help build society, nationwide."
Northern Ireland - needs more trees
It is crucial that more trees are planted in Northern Ireland as it ranks badly as the least-wooded country in the UK and indeed one of the sparsest in Europe, with only 8% woodland cover compared to the European average of 46%. And with pressures such as development and tree disease, every opportunity to protect and bolster this fragile resource is truly precious.
Nationwide - also empowering communities to look after their woodland
Nationwide is also partnering with us on our Community Woodland project, aimed at empowering and inspiring people to get together to own and manage their local woods.
Based in Wiltshire, it has also created a woodland on its doorstep as part of a pledge to plant a tree for current and future employees.
The Nationwide grove is part of a wider parcel of land recently secured by us with the kind assistance of Northern Ireland Environment Agency.