Council to begin enhancement works at Ecclesville Forest Park shortly

14th January 2022

Ecclesville Forest Park Works (January 2022) (3)

Enhancement works by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to improve the biodiversity and recreational amenities at Ecclesville Forest Park, Fintona will commence on 17 January 2022 for a period of six weeks.

The works include the harvesting of trees along the Ecclesville Road to remove the existing dense canopy of non-native conifers which will enable light to penetrate through to the forest floor to protect and encourage the development of the ancient woodland features.  The removal of these trees will also improve the structural and species diversity of the forest whilst encouraging the regeneration of younger and new trees.

The non-native conifers which are being removed as  part of the works, will be replaced with native trees such as oak, birch and hazel in March 2022.  The planting of native trees is important as they have adapted to the local climate, soil type and wildlife and they can connect with other native habitats to ensure that local biodiversity and wildlife, such as the Red Squirrel, can flourish.  Trees support clean air, offer protection from flooding and store carbon, all of which help to address the impacts of climate change.

Further works to promote biodiversity include the removal of the invasive rhododendron and laurel bushes which suppress native flora and wildlife and adversely impact on the regeneration of native trees and shrubs.  Specialist tree surgery will also be undertaken on the veteran trees within the forest to improve the health of the trees and to ensure that everyone can visit and enjoy the forest safely.

The forest management works being undertaken support the Council’s agreed outcome within the Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan 2030 to ensure our outstanding and culturally rich natural environment is cherished, sustainably managed and appropriately accessible.

Speaking about the improvement works, Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Errol Thompson, said;

“these enhancement works to Ecclesville Forest Park are important to ensure that it is sustainably managed to protect our local biodiversity and provide a place which everyone can cherish and enjoy now and for future generations and where they can connect with nature while supporting overall health and wellbeing.

The planting of new native trees will contribute to the Council’s commitments to climate action and Nature Positive 2030 through increasing and maintaining tree cover to capture carbon, support biodiversity and improve soil quality”.

During the completion of the works, the Forest Park will remain open, however, diversions may be in place and sections of the recreational trails will be closed temporarily to ensure visitor health and safety.