Our project deals with a privately owned wood called Farlow Wood – it has lain unused and unaltered for the last 50 years, having been planted in 1784 by John Sterling of 148 Sycamore, 50 apple and 150 cherry (numbers taken from a PRONI publication “A Register of Trees for Co. Londonderry 1768-1911”.
Matthew Ferguson’s father and grandfather were land stewards for the wood, owned by the Tyler-MacDonald family and he was born and grew up in Lisnakelly House backing onto the woodland, helping his father until much of the land around the wood was sold off for death duties. On coming back to Ballykelly in 2016 on retirement, he made a point of getting in touch with them, requesting access to the woodland and the Folly erected on it, which local younger generations have thought to be a “story” only.
On behalf of RVAR, he put forward a plea that the woodland was sorely neglected and storms were causing untold damage to many of the older trees. An advisory forum has been created to help and bring it into public recognition and use as a local “Hidden Gem”.