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Sperrins and Killeter Walking Festival invites local kids to explore nocturnal wildlife

18 August 2017

Local children will have the opportunity to explore and discover the nocturnal wildlife in the local countryside next month following confirmation that the popular Bat and Moth Twilight Walk has been added to the schedule for the 2017 Sperrins and Killeter Walking Festival.
The walk will leave Plumbridge on Saturday September 16th at 6pm and take walkers on a 3k trail around Glenga Valley near Clougherney where the sheltered loop walk will offer the perfect environment to learn about the local ecosystem.
The walk will again be led by local forager and wildlife enthusiast Annie Mullan who boasts a wealth of experience in environmental education and has an intimate knowledge of the area living and farming on Butterlope Farm over the last decade.  
“I am delighted to be able to host the Bat and Moth Walk and offer our young people the opportunity to explore this beautiful part of the countryside,” said Annie.
“We had over 50 people on the walk last year with lots of families, they got a lovely clear night and found heath eggar moth caterpillars when foraging in the hedgerows as well as spotting pipistrelle bats with the aid of bat detectors.
 “At night time there are often badgers, foxes and owls around and with the aid of bat detectors and moth traps hopefully there’ll be some wildlife for the walkers to observe.”
Last year’s event took place under clear skies giving the walk an added majesty as the moon lit up the stunning Glenga Valley.
“The area has very little artificial light so, on a clear night, the illumination from the moon and stars is significant and the walkers last year were amazed at how bright and peaceful it was,” Annie continued.
“People who live in built up areas often don’t get the chance to be out in the starlight.
“The twilight is a great time of the day to go for a walk and see what’s around, if they want, the walkers can eat blackberries and raspberries from the bushes on their way around.  
“Hopefully it will encourage young people to not only get out and discover what’s around them but also to see the health benefits of getting out for a walk.”
The cost of the Bat and Moth Twilight Walk is £5 per family, registration at Watts Bar in Plumbridge between 5.30pm and 6pm.  It will finish at Butterlope Farm where refreshments will be available.
The route is suitable for prams and walkers are advised to wear clothing and footwear suitable for the weather and terrain.
The Sperrins and Killeter Walking Festival takes place in the Sperrins on Saturday 16th and Killeter on Sunday 17th September 2017.
Organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council in conjunction with local adventure company Far and Wild, the festival will host a total of seven walks over the two days, ranging from easy family friendly strolls to moderate treks and challenging hill walks all led by professional walking guides.
To learn more or to register for any of the walks go to www.sperrinskilleterwalking.com.