Published Tuesday, 13 May 2014
Princess Anne on a visit to the Faughan Valley. (© Harrison)
The new woodland will be planted on the outskirts of Londonderry's Faughan Valley to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the war.
Northern Ireland's Centenary Wood stretches at over 53 acres and is currently grassland. It sits directly between the Woodland Trust's Oaks Wood, planted in the year 2000, and the Trust's Killaloo Wood which contains remnants of ancient woodland.
Planting begins in autumn and continues until 2018. Community groups and schools can also take part by applying to the Woodland Trust for free trees.
Members of the public will have a chance to offer ideas and find out more at a public consultation meeting in the summer.
Princess Anne, who is on a two-day visit, is patron of a project run by the Woodland Trust to plant three million trees in four new woodlands across the UK to mark the centenary of war.
She met around 80 guests on Tuesday's visit including Trust volunteers and potential donors to the site, unveiled a plaque marking the launch of the project and was presented with a small wood carving.
When it is established, the woodland will be an ever growing and everlasting tribute to the fallen - in memory of the estimated 200,000 Irish men who fought in the Great War.
The launch of England's Centenary Wood, on land near Epsom in Surrey, has already taken place.
It is expected that the Scottish and Welsh woods will be announced next month.
In total, the project will see well over three million native trees planted across the UK, representing the millions of lives lost and affected by the war.
Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust in Northern Ireland, said: "We are delighted to announce plans for Northern Ireland's Centenary Wood and are grateful that The Princess Royal has taken the time to visit this beautiful site.
"Here, we aim to plant up to 40,000 native trees and create carpets of wildflowers, including iconic poppies. And we hope that a special memorial area, possibly by the banks of the stunning River Faughan, will provide a place for quiet reflection.
"This new wood will be a living, lasting tribute to the people from the island of Ireland who fought or supported others during the war."
He described the site "an absolutely ideal location."
"We have the renowned River Faughan running alongside us; while a number of woods, including fragments of ancient woodland, dot the nearby banks of the river. Species here include endangered red squirrels, otters, kingfishers and purple hairstreak butterflies. Our goal is to create a new stretch of glorious woodland, which will link the nearby woods and form a continuous wildlife corridor."
© UTV News