Size:

7.48 ha (18.48 acres)

Grid reference:

C425148

Map reference:

Explorer NULL

OS Landranger 7

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, as well as the River Foyle.

Look out for the wooden sculptures created by Michael Rodgers that watch over the woods. There’s a squirrel, fox, badger, hedgehog and butterfly to spot as you wander through the woodland.

Features

  • Parking nearby
  • Public access
  • Autumn colour
  • Spring flowers
  • Waymarked walk
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Prehen Wood

Prehen Wood is located on the east bank of the River Foyle, just over 3km (1.9 miles) from Derry/Londonderry 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 Drive and at the end of the cul-de-sac, you will see the official entrance to the wood.

The closest train station is in Derry/Londonderry.

Visit Translink for more information.

The nearest bus stop is at Prehen Park, which is a 10-15 minute walk from the wood.

Visit Translink for more information.

Facilities and access

There is a good network of paths in Prehen Wood. The official access point off Summerhill Drive has a kissing gate, management gate and information board.

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 - this is where you can decide which route to take.

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

Parking is available at the Everglades Hotel, a short walk from the woods.

The nearest public toilets are in Derry/Londonderry. For locations and opening times please visit the Derry and Strabane Council website.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

A number of animals and birds protected under the Wildlife Order (NI) are resident in the wood. These include the red squirrel, sparrowhawk and long-eared owl.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

Prehen Wood is home to at least 60 different species of plant, including bluebell, lesser celandine and wood anemone, all of which bloom each year. The entire wood has Tree Preservation Order status and was designated a Site of Local Conservation Nature Importance (SNCI) in the 1990s.

Look out for:

Habitats

Prehen Wood is a very valuable part of Northern Ireland's surviving ancient woodland. It is also important on a local level, being the only significant area of mature woodland in the south-east district of Derry/Londonderry city.

Explore:

The Prehen Historical Environmental Society (PHES) actively campaigned to save the woodland from ever-increasing development pressure. It was the PHES who brought the plight of the woodland to our attention and we purchased Prehen Wood in 2003.

About Prehen Wood

History

Records from the 17th century show the land moving from the ownership of Captain Manus O’Cahan to the Goldsmiths Company of London. Eventually, the Elvin family settled on the land, and then the Tomkins family.

In 1738, the Prehen heiress Honoria Tomkins married Andrew Knox of Rathmullan and Moneymore. Andrew Knox acquired Prehen in 1740 and built Prehen House, which stands in Prehen to this day. The Prehen House Estate remained in the ownership of the Knox family until the outbreak of the First World War, when it was sequestered by the government after the last of the Knox family married a German national.

In 1929, much of the woodland was sold off for timber production, and its imminent destruction resulted in a local outcry. The editor of the local paper took up the cause, calling for some timber to be left standing and Prehen Wood was spared.

During the Second World War, parts of Prehen Wood were used by American forces stationed near Londonderry/Derry city. They excavated a quarry and used the rock to make a landing place for their ships at Lisahalley Docks on the River Foyle. Now a haven for wildlife, the quarry is said to be haunted by the ghost of a US soldier who was accidentally killed there before the excavation ceased in 1944.

Things to do in Prehen Wood

Walking

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 that takes you up a glen.

There are also two circular walks which are suitable for those who enjoy a gentle stroll.

Prehen Wood - Management plan

Download

Prehen Wood Management Plan

PDF  (119 KB)