Tully set to become Fermanagh’s third nature reserve

PLANS are under way to declare one of Fermanagh’s most beautiful and historic sites as a designated Local Nature Reserve (LNR).
There are currently 25 LNRs in the North, including two in Fermanagh, Devenish LNR and Killyfole LNR. Now the county could be getting a third, at Tully. If an area is declared an LNR it means its biodiversity and wildlife will be protected.
“At Tully there are approximately 15 hectares of land that are currently a haven for biodiversity,” said the report by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council proposing the area be declared an LNR.
“The meadows around Tully Castle are managed by HED (Historic Environment Division at the Department of Communities) as flower rich hay meadows, the shoreline woodland is already rich in wildlife in it’s natural state and the wooded fields have the potential to be a mosaic of woodland glades within a mature broadleaved forest if managed correctly.
“Investigations into historical records have shown the site to hold a wide range of species from otters to kingfishers, red squirrels and twayblade orchids, many of which are priority species within the Fermanagh and Omagh Local Biodiversity Action Plan.”
The Council said there was scope to promote the site to visitors and locals, including educational activities and events, administered by the HED and the local community association.
The interaction between the HED and the local community in the area is an improving one, according to local business man David Bailey.
In August 2016 there was outrage locally when the HED uprooted the box hedging in the castle’s Elizabethan gardens for “maintenance” reasons. At the time the community was annoyed not only because they felt there was no need to removed the plants, but because there was no consultation with locals.
David Bailey from Blaney Caravan Park said the Department had since been making an effort to involve the community, and while nothing had been agreed as to how to improve the facilities in the area yet, he was confident the community would continue to be consulted.
“We’re in the middle of discussions of what’s going on,” he said. “They’re not going ahead without asking us this time!”
Mr Bailey said research was currently being carried out into the castle and area’s rich history, with plenty in the pipeline locally.
“There definitely will be a lot, lot more going on,” said Mr Bailey. “There’s something positive to come out of it.”

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