Access and Interpretation Strategy for the Faughan Valley

Client: The Woodland Trust

The Challenge

To prepare an Access and Interpretation which will:

  • ensure effective interpretation and access that not only communicates clear messages and gives visitors opportunities to experience and access the countryside, but also creates a sense of identity for the Faughan Valley
  • be utilised to inform The Woodland Trust and partners in the Faughan Valley to produce engaging, innovative and relevant interpretation, connected and high-quality access infrastructure that is consistent across the area, giving visitors a sense of place regardless of which site they are visiting.

The Role

Through desk research, consultation and fieldwork prepare:

1: Understanding the heritage – to include:

  • A description of the heritage of the Faughan Valley and how the landscape has changed over time
  • Demonstration of the local and wider heritage context in terms of its importance
  • A detailed description of the interpretation and access provision, the key messages it is attempting to convey, the current demand/supply of access and existing management of the site explained across the key locations.
  • The scale of existing provision and identify what branding, co-ordination and quality standard issues exist.


2: Statement of significance – A description of what is important about the Faughan Valley in terms of heritage, why and to whom it is important.


3: Risks and opportunities – To include:

  • An explanation of what is happening to the Faughan Valley landscape, how in particular a lack of clear messages will affect the sustainable development of the area.
  • The risks to the heritage in the Faughan Valley if they further fragment in terms of understanding and accessibility should be identified.
  • The opportunities for improving the visitor experience, condition of the woodland assets and benefits they could provide for building a resilient landscape, people and society.


4: Policies – to provide guiding principles for promoting trees and woods in the Faughan Valley, the mosaic of habitats, heritage features and improving the visitor experience, informed by the previous sections of the Strategy. Policies will have clear aims and objectives and be specific to the Faughan Valley and will cover (but not limited to) themes around conservation, access, built heritage, environmental impact and management. These will consider:

  • Approaches to landscape scale interpretation provision including on-site and road signage
  • Types of signage and materials suitable for the Faughan Valley including appropriate complementary site infrastructure e.g. benches, art work
  • Exploration on a unified approach to information provision (printed, online, on site etc.)
  • Exploration of potential agreement of styles and messages across the whole of the Faughan Valley with landowners
  • New and innovative approaches to interpretation
  • Natural play provision/potential in woodlands
  • An assessment of the existing outdoor access provision
  • A vision for outdoor access for the area with key strategic themes and areas
  • Management plans for maintaining access vision and ensuring specific management measures along paths which are located near to or through sensitive sites
  • Key partnerships and resource requirements
  • Priorities for action
  • Inclusivity for everyone


5: Adoption and review – Identification of who will be responsible for its delivery and the process of review by both