A new network of multi-use trails was launched this week at Beech Hill Country House Hotel. Following the official launch today, the trails were a hive of activity as Beech Hill Country House Hotel and The Playhouse teamed up to deliver a World War II Heritage Trail & Family Fun Day on Sunday as part of National Trails Day.
Set to become a key attraction for both tourists and local’s alike, the 3 miles of circular trails twist their way through the mixed woodland and landscaped gardens near the River Faughan, in the Faughan Valley. Starting and finishing at the front of the hotel, the trails have been developed to suit a wide range of users including walkers, family cyclists, horse riders and users with limited mobility.
“The new trails have surpassed all of our expectations; it was great to see so many new faces enjoying the trails on National Trails Day. The new trails and The Playhouse really brought the grounds of Beech Hill to life. Everybody is welcome to use the trails - hotel guests, visitors to the area and the local community.” stated Conor Donnelly, Sales & Marketing Manager, Beech Hill Country House Hotel.
The project was developed by Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland with funding from RAPID through Heritage Lottery Fund and Groundwork Northern Ireland through the Faughan Valley Landscape Partnership and Derry City Council.
A nature lovers haven, the trails weave their way through the woodland which first appears on the first edition ordnance survey maps (1830-1844) and in records from the mid 19th century. This long-established woodland is home to plant species such as wood sorrel, bluebell and an array of fungi.
“The trails will have been developed to allow everybody to easily explore the beautiful surroundings of Beech Hill. The quality of woodland is rare in Northern Ireland and provides the opportunity to catch a glimpse of red squirrels, bats, buzzards and pheasants.” enthused Diane Patterson, Product Development Officer, Outdoor Recreation NI.
Beech Hill’s history dates right back to 1622, a key event was its use as a World War II camp by the US Marines who carved their names on a tree in the woods. Initials and dates are still visible on the trunk of what is now known as 'The Marines Tree'. “Beech Hill is rich in history and the newly launched trails really allow you to explore the grounds whilst taking in some amazing stories along the way.” stated Jim McColgan from RAPID, speaking at the official launch.
Both the Skipton Trail and O’Cahan Trail are specially designed to be suitable for users with limited mobility. “We are delighted to be involved in a project which allows outdoor recreation to be enjoyed by users of all levels of physical ability” explained Richard Rodgers, Project Team Manager, Groundwork Northern Ireland.
To find out more information on the trails contact Beech Hill Country House Hotel on +44(0)28 7134 9279 or visit WalkNI.com or CycleNI.com.
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