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PEACE IV project completed at Portaferry’s Nugent’s Wood

From left, Andrew Upton, National Trust; Aaron Devlin, FP McCann; Hannah Lambe, AECOM; Mayor of Ards and North Down Trevor Cummings; and Joanne Brown, PEACE IV officer. Photo credit: Graham Baalham-Curry

Visitors to the recently reopened Nugent’s Wood in Portaferry can now enjoy an enhanced experience at the National Trust site following a cash injection from the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme.

Improvements to the walking trail path and repairs to the existing stone wall have been completed, while additional drainage works as well as new seating, sculptures and entrance signage have been installed.

The project was supported by the EU’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Match-funding was provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

It marks the successful completion of one of the four Ards and North Down Borough Council’s PEACE IV ‘Shared Spaces and Services’ projects. Work was carried out by contractor FP McCann and design consultant AECOM.

“I am delighted to see this project come to fruition,” said Mayor of Ards and North Down Trevor Cummings. “Nugent’s Wood is a beautiful location with stunning views that all residents and visitors to the area can enjoy. Going outside and getting some exercise is vital for our physical and mental health. The Nugent’s Wood walking trail provides the perfect place where you can get fresh air and enjoy a walk while socially distancing.”

The National Trust acquired Nugent’s Wood in 1983. The wood covers 13 hectares and was originally planted as a shelter belt to the adjoining Portaferry House Demesne. The 1.5-mile path through the woodland features views across Strangford Lough to the Castle Ward Estate.

Andrew Upton, countryside manager for the National Trust, said: “Nugent’s Wood is a wonderful mixed woodland on the shores of Strangford Lough. This open space provides visitors with access to woods and countryside, allowing people to reconnect with nature, something which is vital for health and wellbeing, especially during the current Covid-19 crisis.

“We’re delighted to see the completion of this funded project and we look forward to protecting and caring for Nugent’s Wood so people and nature can thrive, long into the future.”

For more information about the Ards and North Down Borough Council’s PEACE IV Shared Spaces and Services projects, visit

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