THE Woodland Trust is currently creating what it describes as the single largest native woodland in Northern Ireland.

Aughrim Hill, situated in the heartland of the Mourne mountains in County Down, will be transformed from a bare hillside with no tree cover to a habitat with over 110,000 native trees. In total, the new woodland habitat will stretch to 60 ha, including 10 ha planted last year by the Mourne Heritage Trust.

Native trees including Scots pine and broadleaves such as birch and oak are being planted by hand.

The land at Aughrim, which is privately owned, has been leased in the short term by Woodland Trust Northern Ireland in order to carry out the planting.

There are also plans to implement paths for public access to Aughrim.

Michael Topping, outreach advisor for Woodland Trust Northern Ireland, said: “Our aim is to increase tree cover and create new woodland in Northern Ireland and this woodland at Aughrim is set to be our biggest to date. I am working with private landowners to plant the right trees, in the right places – we need more areas like this that we can plant on.”

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