Belfast Telegraph

Derry plantation trail uncovers Maiden City’s rich history

By Donna Deeney

A plantation trail connecting some of Londonderry’s most historic sites is expected to attract an influx of visitors and historians interested in finding out more about the origins of our villages and big houses.

The trail, created by Foyle Civic Trust, covers the areas around the city planted by goldsmiths, grocers, fishmongers and more, including Eglinton and Claudy villages.

Learmount Castle, Prehen House, Boom Hall, Culmore Fort, Ashbrook House, Beech Hill and more form part of the path, maps of which can be found online or picked up at a number of locations around the city.

Jennifer O’Donnell, Derry City and Strabane District Council rural tourism development officer, said: “The trail was developed to raise awareness of rural Derry’s Plantation history and to connect the Plantation villages and houses.

“The development of the Plantation Trail will enable a better understanding of local history and inspire community involvement.

“A map has been created in order to link the sites and inform people about the sites along the trail. Signage has been placed at the sites in order to promote an understanding of the Plantation’s built and landscape heritage.”

One of the city’s most historic sites is Ashbrook House, which features on the path.

Melanie Cunningham from the attraction said: “We are very much looking forward to the new signage, which we’re hoping will generate additional tourism not only in the city, but also in the surrounding rural area, especially the stunning Faughan Valley.

“Anything that puts Derry on the map and helps people discover its built heritage is positive news for everybody.”

The Plantation Trail is designed to be of interest not just to visitors to the city but also to local people who want to find out more about the history of where they live.

Mayor Elisha McCallion said: “A very helpful rural heritage trail map has been designed to highlight each of the eight sites featured, and signage has been erected at the sites, which includes an overview of artefacts, family history, archaeological ruins and landscape.

“We believe that the trail will inspire our own local communities to learn more about the history of the city and its rural environs, as well as offering an exciting new tourism product for the many visitors who quite rightly regard Derry as a must-see destination.”

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