The Woodland Trust in Northern Ireland has celebrated a major milestone this year, as its Woods on Your Doorstep turned 20.  Started with the simple aim to develop woodlands within walking distance of local people in mainly urban areas. The project bred new life into towns with the planting of woodlands stretching from the Faughan Valley in the North West to Corrog Wood on the Ards Peninsula.

Over 250,000 trees have been planted as part of Woods on your Doorstep at sites including Carnmoney Hill and Monkstown Wood in Newtownabbey, Drumnaph Woodland in Maghera, Cabin Wood in Cookstown, Corrog Wood in Portaferry, Canal Wood in Poyntzpass, Glasswater Wood in Crossgar, Oaks Wood in the Faughan Valley and Throne Wood in Belfast.

These woods have provided great natural spaces for families and hosted over 1000 events becoming a hub to bring people together. Local communities have enjoyed playing, planting trees, running, walking, bird watching and more recently escaping the rigours of daily life and the pressures of the pandemic.

Northern Ireland has the lowest tree cover in the UK with only 8%, compared to 38% in Europe. Species are in decline, habitats are fragmented and people are disconnected from nature. Trees help clean air and water and they provide havens for wildlife and store carbon. In 2020 alone, the trees in Woods On Your Doorstep have stored almost 95,000 tonnes of carbon offsetting the carbon footprints of 17,000 people.

Wood warbler perched on a branch

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