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Prehen Wood

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/Londonderry city and the River Foyle.

Prehen Wood is one of our Top Ten bluebell woods. If you’d like to visit and see a superb bluebell display, check our live map for bluebells at Nature's Calendar as flowering times do vary around the UK. However, mid-April to early-June is usually an ideal time for most woods.

Prehen Wood is a remnant of the extensive woodland that once covered much of the east bank of the River Foyle, stretching as far as Strabane. What remains however is a treasure trove, a place of great beauty and a precious wildlife habitat in the middle of an otherwise urban landscape.

It is home to the endangered red squirrel, as well as badger, sparrowhawk and the long-eared owl. In the spring the wood is a mass of wildflowers including carpets of bluebell, lesser celandine and wood anemone, while autumn shows off its stunning russet browns, golds and reds.

Prehen Wood has been identified as ancient semi-natural woodland, with beech and oak canopy the predominant species, and hazel and holly largely making up the understorey. The entire wood has Tree Preservation Order status and was designated as a Site of Local Conservation Nature Importance in the 1990s.

Prehen Wood Overlooking River Foyle
View from Prehen Wood looking west over the
River Foyle. (Photo: S Kind/WTML)

An old quarry is situated just outside the Woodland Trust boundary to the west of the site, providing a fantastic view point. There are also spectacular views overlooking the River Foyle and the city of Derry/Londonderry. Also outside our boundary on the northerly edge of the site are two old air-raid shelters.

Visitors to the wood are greeted by some additional woodland creatures in the form of new wooden sculptures created by Michael Rodgers who was inspired by children from the local Rosemount Primary School. A squirrel, fox, badger, hedgehog and butterfly keep a still and watchful eye as visitors explore this quiet corner of nature.

Access and walks

The public have access to the majority of the site and the paths have been way-marked. There is one official access point off Summerhill Drive which has a kissing gate, management gate and information board.

The existing public path, called The Bolies after the townland name, runs from Victoria Road and is managed by Derry/Londonderry City Council. It’s a lovely wooded walk up a glen.

Throughout the woodland there are a series of numbered way-markers which relate to the Eco-trail. This environmental trail encourages young people to develop an awareness and appreciation of the natural and built environment. It is also linked to the sport of orienteering. Further information can be obtained at www.ecotrails.co.uk . There are also two circular walks which are suitable for those who enjoy a gentle stroll.

Wet pathways and steep slopes restrict access for wheelchairs and less-abled persons but the wood is well used and provides a wide range of interesting flora and fauna.

As you enter the wood you will see a large, wooden red squirrel carving. Follow the path straight past the squirrel and continue straight ahead, with the golf course to your right. Follow this until you come to the first stone bridge where there’s a pool of water with an island in the middle on which an alder tree stands. This is where you can decide which route to take.

Setting

Prehen Wood is located on the east bank of the River Foyle, just over 3 km from Derry/Londonderry city centre.

Nearest amenities

Public conveniences
The nearest are in Derry/Londonderry.

Refreshments
Visit TripAdvisor and Discover Northern Ireland websites for a a selection of suggestions.

Accommodation and tourist Information
The nearest Tourist Information Centre is: Derry/Londonderry Tourist Information Centre or visit Discover Northern Ireland

Directions

By bus
The only local service is the FY6 which runs from the Foyle bus station in Derry city to New Buildings, getting off at Prehen Park stop. From here, walk until you come to Sandringham Drive, then follow this to the top and take a left along Summerhill Drive. The woodland entrance is at the end of this street (approximately a 10 – 15 minutes walk).

If travelling from Belfast by Ulsterbus to Derry City, take the 212 Goldline Express. Full details from the Translink website.

By train
If travelling from Belfast, you can get the train from Belfast Central Station to Derry/Londonderry city. For further information on public transport, contact Translink

By car
Prehen Wood is just over 3 km from Derry/Londonderry's city centre. Take the A5 Victoria Road from Derry to Strabane, along the bank of the River Foyle.

Approaching the Everglades Hotel you will see a signpost for Prehen at the left-hand side of the road. Follow this slip road and when you reach the Everglades Hotel, park here. After exiting the main entrance of the hotel on foot, continue along the slip road, following the next signpost for Prehen on your left hand side. This takes you to Prehen Park. Then take the second left turn into Sandringham Drive. At the top of Sandringham Drive turn left into Summerhill Park and at the end of the cul-de-sac you will see the official entrance to the wood.

Entry into our woods is free but please donate now to help us care for them.