Enjoy a stroll through mature beech and oak at Huntly Wood Conservation and Amenity Area. Located next to the River Bann, the site combines two of our most diverse habitats woodland and river bank. In 2006, Banbridge Golf Club kindly granted a 25-year lease to Banbridge District Council to manage this small area of mature woodland of approximately 10 acres for public access and conservation. After works to create safe public access around the site in a sustainable way and the planting of additional native trees, shrubs and wildflowers it was opened to the public in July 2007. The project was completed with invaluable assistance from Probation Service for NI and with grant assistance from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
It is vitally important that we conserve our existing woods and trees as Northern Ireland has only some 7% woodland cover as compared to an EU average of around 31%. Of this 7% only around 3.8% is made up of broad-leaved mixed and yew woodland with the rest being mainly coniferous plantations which provide a poor habitat for native species.
In the Banbridge District there are few woods of any size (though part of Castlewellan Forest Park falls within the District). The only substantial stands of trees are normally found around the old demesnes and linen houses. Development pressures are leading to the further loss of old trees and woodland throughout Northern Ireland.
Route Fact File
||Huntly Wood is located off the Huntly Road approximately 1 mile (1.61 km) to the northwest of Banbridge town centre just opposite Banbridge Golf Club.
||Approximately 0.79 mile (1.27 km)
||Dogs should be kept on leads at all times. No motor vehicles. Remain on surfaced trail.
|Start and Finish:
||Lay-by at Huntly Road. As you stand looking into the wood from the lay-by follow the track to the left which runs parallel to the Huntly Road. This circular trail will bring you back to the starting point.
||A small roadside lay-by has been provided just opposite the smaller of the two car parks at Banbridge Golf Club.
||Woodland and riverside walk. Walkers are advised to remain on the trail as there are steep slopes and uneven areas off trail. The trail is a mainly surfaced narrow woodland trail with some inclines.
Huntly Wood is located off the Huntly Road approximately 1 mile to the northwest of Banbridge town centre just opposite Banbridge Golf Club.
Points of Interest
Part of the path runs along the River Bann. This section of the river was at the heart of the linen industry in Banbridge and the bank opposite was once lined with mills and factories involved in the production of linen. In recent years most of these have been demolished and replaced with housing developments. The route follows for a short distance the riverside cutting of the former railway which ran from Banbridge to Scarva. The square cut masonry wall along part of this section was constructed by the railway company to retain the bank.
The wood has been identified as a proposed Site of Local Nature Conservation Interest in the draft Area Plan and many of the trees and shrubs are protected by a Tree Preservation Order. Standing and fallen dead and decaying timber supports a wide range of birds and insects and has been left in the wood for this reason. Otters roam the river bank here foraging for food and the wood is a good habitat for bats Ė 4 of the 8 species of bat found in NI have been identified in the wood. The majority are Pipistrelle, which can be seen in the early evening between April and September (bats hibernate in the winter). Other species found Soprano pipistrelle, Common pipistrelle, Whiskered bat, Daubentonís bat and Leislerís bat. Bats can be seen swarming on warm, summer nights as they feed near the site where the old railway would have crossed the river.