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Size:

17.24 ha (42.60 acres)

Grid reference:

C840042

Map reference:

Explorer NULL

OS Landranger 8

At the gateway to the Sperrin Hills, this beautiful ancient woodland is one of the few remaining fragments of a great forest that once covered much of mid-Ulster. Enjoy flower-rich woods or spotting Irish hares in the rush meadows.

Throughout the year Drumnaph Wood’s varied mix of habitats is a joy to explore. In spring the woodland floor is carpeted with bluebells and other flowering plants. In summer, butterflies bring Drumnaph’s meadows and woodland edges to life, while brightly-coloured dragonflies patrol the bog cotton grass in wetland areas.

Whether you are interested in timeless woodland, excellent walks or fascinating cultural connections, Drumnaph Wood is well worth a visit.

Features

  • Parking at site
  • Public access
  • Autumn colour
  • Spring flowers
  • Waymarked walk
  • Grassland
  • Marshland

Getting to Drumnaph Wood

Drumnaph Wood is 3km (2 miles) north of the town of Maghera, County Londonderry. It occupies a ridge above the meandering Grillagh River with views west to Carntogher Mountain and the beautiful Sperrin Hills.

From Maghera, take the A29 heading north and continue for about 3km (2 miles) before turning left onto Gortinure Road. Drive for 0.6km (1 mile) and then turn left onto Grillagh Road. The Drumnaph Wood car park is on the left and is signposted.

The nearest train station is in Culleybackey, around 25.7km (16 miles) from the wood.

Visit Translink for more information.

The nearest bus stop is at Gortinure Road, 1.4km (0.9 miles) from the wood.

Visit Translink for more information.

Facilities and access

The wood’s main entrance is via a farm track from the car park on the Grillagh Road to the east. Look out for the modern stone circle featuring six decorated pillars, as well as decorated standing stones found in the woodland.

There are three waymarked footpaths through the reserve: the Perimeter Trail (1.9 miles/3km) the Ruachan Trail (0.7 miles/1.2km) the Loch Bran Trail (0.7 miles/1.2km) the Rath Trail (1 mile/1.7km) and the Tree Loop (0.9 mile/1.5km).

Drumnaph Wood is connected to a number of other historic locations nearby by the Carntogher History Trail. A guide to the 17.5km (11-mile) trail can be downloaded from the Carntogher Community Association.

There is a free car park with space for 10 cars at the main entrance to the wood.

The nearest toilets are in Carntogher, 132A Tirkane Rd, Maghera BT46 5NH.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

The diverse patchwork of habitats at Drumnaph provides a haven for wildlife, from sparrowhawks and bats to dragonflies and badgers. Some special mammals, including otters, have also been sighted. During the winter in particular, look out for the Irish hare at wood edges as well as in the surrounding fields.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

Once upland oakwood, Drumnaph Wood is now a close canopy of hazel, holly and ash, with some fine old oaks and elms. Some of the wood’s oaks are veterans, including McCartney’s Oak, named after a grazier who lived in the 1860s and who is said to have sheltered under the tree during the summer.

In spring and early summer, the woodland lights up with wildflowers, including bluebell, wood anemone, primrose, lesser celandine and pignut, to name a few. Boggy areas are a great place to see unique wetland flora and fauna, including sphagnum moss, bog myrtle and bog cotton.

Look out for:

Habitats

Drumnaph Wood is a mix of valuable habitats, with established woodland, new tree-planting, bog and rush meadows. All habitats – the old and new - collectively make up 31.5 hectares (78 acres).

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About Drumnaph Wood

History

Drumnaph Wood is an ancient woodland site with a rich history. It was once part of immense oak forests and features three ancient raths within its boundary. These earth mounds were once fortified homesteads dating from early Christian times until around 1200, making the site a must-visit for history buffs.

The Woodland Trust bought Drumnaph Wood in 2000 after the Carntogher Community Association approached us. The association also cares for 54 hectares (133 acres) of adjoining land which is a mixture of farmland, woodland and wetland, and the two sites are now managed as a seamless whole.

Dedication bench at Watkins Wood

Dedicate at this wood

This wood is one of more than 50 across the UK where it's possible to dedicate trees, benches or larger areas of woodland. Mark a special occasion or celebrate the life of a loved one with a meaningful gesture that lasts. 

Choose a dedication

Things to do in Drumnaph Wood

Walking

Embark on a walk around Drumnaph Wood and see if you can spot the historical features, nature sculptures and wildlife.

Drumnaph Wood - Management plan

Download

Drumnaph Wood Management Plan

PDF  (149 KB)