Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon

Biodiversity Projects – Armagh

‘Give and Gain’ volunteers working towards a better environment in Mid and East Antrim

Green-fingered volunteers from the business sector have been building-up their own personal skills and helping to both construct and maintain a better environment for our local wildlife. Volunteers across the Mid and East Antrim Borough came out in support of the innovative ‘Give & Gain Day’ on Friday 20th May 2016. Volunteers from banking group Lloyds carried out essential tree maintenance … [Read More...]

Friends Of Bashfordsland Wood & Oakfield Glen commended

The Mayor of Mid & East Antrim met the ‘Friends of' Bashfordsland Wood & Oakfield Glen on Saturday 14th May 2016. The Mayor commended the group on their hard work and dedication over the last 10 months and thanked them for their interest in the site and for giving back to the community. The Friends Of group have been meeting each month, rain or shine, since September 2015 and continue to … [Read More...]

Biodiversity Fun Days

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is encouraging families to get outdoors this weekend and learn more about local biodiversity. Our Biodiversity Fun Days are a great way for families to learn more about the natural world through fun, practical activities. With a range of experts on site you can learn about birds, bugs and more. Event details: BiodiversityFamily Fun Day The People’s Park, … [Read More...]

Wild Garlic Pesto

It was a beautifully sunny day and we set off with Dermot (http://forageireland.com/) from the White House along Glas-na-braden Glen.  With a promise of ‘plenty of wild garlic’ in the glen even Dermot was surprised when the smell of garlic greeted us – the Glen is full of garlic and at this time of year the smell is unbelievable!  Everywhere we looked, we could see the pretty white flowers of the … [Read More...]

The Secret Life of Graveyards!

Ballynure Primary School and Kilbride Central Primary School took part in an exciting investigation in two local graveyards this week. Kilbride and Ballynure Cemetery was 'invaded' by school children as they joined Ecomantella to investigate the mini beast and mammals that rely on these peaceful spaces. … [Read More...]

Wild About Food!

Wild About Food is an exciting project - a partnership between Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and funded by Heritage Lottery Fund - which will see participants taking part in a range of activities making the most of local products. It was launched on Monday 9 May 2016 by the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough, Councillor Thomas Hogg and the … [Read More...]

Wild About Food

Wild About Food is an exciting programme of events between May and October encouraging everyone to celebrate the wild food available on our door step! In a partnership project between Mid and East Antrim and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Councils, funded by HLF, participants can make their own pesto, frozen treats and even do some bread making! Have a look at what is on offer - and book … [Read More...]

Wild About Food!

Mayors join forces to urge public support for cross-Council ‘Wild about Food’ project  Two local Borough Councils are going ‘wild about food’ with a new project launched to celebrate locally sourced ingredients and products. The project - a partnership between Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and funded by Heritage Lottery Fund - will see … [Read More...]

Blackhead Path

A bracing walk by the sea! The path runs northeast from Whitehead and is lined by interesting wildlife habitats including grassland, woodland (known locally as the 'Magic Forest') and a rocky shoreline. The Lough itself is an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) famed for its bird population, including nesting peregrine falcons. Meadow pipit, robin, goldfinch and chaffinch are commonly seen. … [Read More...]

Diamond Jubilee Wood

Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead was created in 2012 as a living, lasting legacy to commemorate the 2012 Diamond Jubilee, marking Queen Elizabeth's 60th year as monarch. The 60 acre woodland near Bentra Golf Course to the north of Whitehead was officially opened on Saturday 23rd June 2012 by Mrs. Joan Christie OBE, Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim. Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead is … [Read More...]

Mid & East Antrim set to celebrate the Dawn Chorus

International Dawn Chorus Day is the worldwide celebration of ‘nature’s daily miracle’ – bird song. This year, International Dawn Chorus Day is Sunday 1 May and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is hosting three specially organised walks so everyone can join in the experience. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is committed to protecting and promoting the biodiversity in the Borough and … [Read More...]

Rea’s Wood BIG Spring Clean

Rea's Wood BIG Spring Clean When: Join the Rea's Wood BIG Spring Clean on Saturday 23rd April, starting at 10.30am. Where? A transport service will be provided for volunteers, picking up from Lough Shore Park, Antrim. Volunteers attending the clean up must register with Nicola Murray at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. T: 028 9076 … [Read More...]

World Wetlands Day ‘clean up’ at Canal Walk

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2nd February to raise awareness about the value of wetlands. The theme for 2016, under the banner “Wetlands for our Future” is: Sustainable Livelihoods and is selected to demonstrate the vital role of wetlands for the current and future wellbeing of humanity and to promote the wise use of all sorts of wetlands. Councillor Thomas Hogg, Mayor of … [Read More...]

Glynn Christmas Bird Watch

Yet again participants at the annual Glynn Birdwatch event were not disappointed. Despite the bone chilling weather, the birds were certainly not put off and were out in numbers, with quite a few species spotted on the day including Greenshank, Teal, Goldeneye and Little Egret. The now annual birdwatch event took place at Glynn Halt on the Larne Line on Saturday 12th December. The station is an … [Read More...]

Carnfunnock Country Park

Formerly the grounds of a private estate, Carnfunnock Country Park is situated on the Coast Road, outside Larne. This visitor attraction has a number of facilities including visitor centre, activity playground, Caravan Park, and formal gardens that are open to the public. The Park was originally part of the estate of Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon and was purchased by Larne Borough Council in 1957. … [Read More...]

Mayors issue joint call to protect Co Antrim’s native crayfish

The mayors of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough and Mid and East Antrim Borough are urging both the public and the angling community in particular to play their part in keeping County Antrim free of a waterborne infection that threatens a native species. A collaboration between the biodiversity officers of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough and Mid and East Antrim Borough and the Six Mile Rivers … [Read More...]

Ireland is buzzing as 68 organisations enlist to save our Bees

September 17th 2015 sees the launch of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, which identifies actions to help protect pollinators and the livelihoods of farmers who rely on their invaluable pollination service. Sixty-eight governmental and nongovernmental organisations have agreed a shared plan of action to tackle pollinator decline and make Ireland a place where pollinators can survive and … [Read More...]

Mid and East Antrim Biodiversity Summer School a Huge Success

Seed Bombing at Jubilee WoodThe Biodiversity Summer School has been held at Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead since the woodland officially opened in 2012. This is the fourth successful year. The Biodiversity Summer School gives families the opportunity to learn about the natural world, and local wildlife specifically, through a variety of activities. This year participants made bird, bat and … [Read More...]

Dont Mow

Tuesday 4th August 2015 Don’t Mow, Let it Grow! – Have your say on short V long! This is a new project is aiming to challenge our desire for neat and tidy mown grass. Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council in partnership with Transport NI and Northern Ireland Environment Agency secured Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) to develop a new approach to grassland management - restoring our … [Read More...]

Woodland Safari Carnfunnock

Last Tuesday 28th July a group of brave participants came out in atrocious weather to take part in a woodland safari at Carnfunnock Country park. The theme of the walk was mammal tracks and signs. The participants were advised that even though there was a number of different mammal species living and foraging at Carnfunnock, the chances of seeing these animals during the day was remote as most are … [Read More...]

Country comes to town as Carrickfergus Mill Ponds LNR are officially opened

  Part of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s industrial heritage has been reborn as an urban oasis for wildlife. Guests gathered at Carrickfergus Mill Ponds today for the official opening of the site as a nature reserve and saw local children enjoy environmental activities including pond dipping and ‘mini beast’ hunting. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Mayor, Councillor Billy … [Read More...]

Squirrel Pox Discovered at Garron, Co Antrim

Squirrel Pox has recently been confirmed from a red squirrel in the Mid and East Antrim area. One of our native red squirrels, discovered near Garron Point, has been found to have been suffering from the pox virus, a disease that can prove fatal to the red squirrel population. The affected squirrel was found at St Killian’s College near Garron Point on the 26 June, samples were taken, and it was … [Read More...]

Antrim Castle Gardens Biodiversity Summer School

Monday 17 August to Friday 21 August, 10am to 12 noon. The aim is to inspire and encourage people to discover more about the incredible species and habitats on their doorstep. The summer school will give families the opportunity to participate in fun biodiversity projects such as mini beast hunts, bird watching and building a hedgehog home. All activities are FREE and children must be … [Read More...]

All aflutter at Steeple Play Park on Wednesday 22 July, 10am to 12 noon.

Come and join Butterfly Conservation and your Local Biodiversity Officer in a fun survey to record Butterflies. Do you know your Small Tortoiseshell from your Peacock? Come along to find out more. There will be some magically moths to see as well. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Places limited. Booking required. No charge For further information or to book a place contact … [Read More...]

Crumlin Glen Biodiversity Summer School

Looking for something fun for the children this summer? ANBC are running a Biodiversity Summer School in Crumlin Glen from Monday 27 to Friday 31 July, 10am to 12 noon. The fun filled week of activities will take place outdoors. All activities are FREE and children must be accompanied by an adult. Booking is required as places are limited. … [Read More...]

Killykeeghan and Crossmurrin – Marlbank National Nature Reserve

This is a very special site being home to a rare habitat - limestone grassland and some rare butterfly and moth species. Scattered hazel scrub provide additional opportunities for beasties within an overall breathtaking landscape.  From Enniskillen take the A4 Sligo Road, shortly after take the A32 following the signposts for Marble Arch Caves. The nature reserve is a mile from the entrance to the … [Read More...]

Topped Mountain

Topped Mountain is a prominent local peak with access via a steep gravel path. The short steep path takes you through acid grassland and blanket bog to the summit affording great views of the wider countryside. From Enniskillen, take the B80 Tempo Road. After about 3 miles, take a right turn after a steep climb at a church. Follow the signs for Topped Mountain. … [Read More...]

Crom Estate National Trust

This amazing landscape contains many habitats; oak and wet woodland, parkland, species rich grassland and lough shore. Crom is perhaps one of the best places to see all types of wildlife, not just butterflies and moths. From red squirrels to pine martens, bats, birds and an array of woodland plants, biodiversity is definitely on the map here. From the Lisnaskea, take the A34. On the outskirts of … [Read More...]

Correl Glen Nature Reserve

A short nature trail starting opposite the Falls Bridge car park journeys through the damp, shady woodland and continues up onto heath to a seat overlooking the reserve.  Correl Glen and the neighbouring Monawilkin are host to many species of butterfly and dragonfly. The Silver-washed Fritillary is the largest butterfly in Ireland and prefers shady clearings. By car: Follow signs for Lough … [Read More...]

Coastal path improvement

North Down Coastal Path extends from Holywood in the west to Orlock in the east. The path passes through coastline and parkland. Historic relics and flora and fauna are found in abundance, including the grey seals which can be spotted offshore. The Council recently carried out coastal path improvement works at Seahill that replaced steep steps with sections of upgraded path and an elevated … [Read More...]

The bees are back in town!

We are delighted to announce that the busy bees are back at North Down Museum. Did you know that the smallest farm animal plays the greatest role in food production?    Watch the Museum’s honeybees at work through the observation beehive window in our Viking longhouse and see if you can find the queen. A must see this summer! If you visit the museum you can also become a young explorer by … [Read More...]

The North Down Coastal Path

The North Down Coastal Path is one of the finest shoreline walks in Ireland. It extends along the southern shore of Belfast Lough from Holywood to Portavoe near Groomsport. The path has historic and wildlife features adding interest to every step. The path passes through coastline and parkland. Historic relics and flora and fauna are found in abundance, including the grey seals which can be … [Read More...]

The Copeland Islands

The Copeland Islands is a group of three islands in the north Irish Sea, north of Donaghadee, County Down, Northern Ireland consisting of Lighthouse, Mew and Copeland Island. The islands are important sites for breeding seabirds and waders, in addition to their coastal plant communities and geological features. The islands are internationally important sites for breeding populations of Manx … [Read More...]

Kiltonga Nature Reserve

Kiltonga Nature Reserve, situated on the Belfast Road on the outskirts of Newtownards, is a popular site for walkers, families and birdwatchers. The site is owned and managed by Ards and North Down Borough Council. The wetland areas and birdlife are jointly managed by the Council and the locally based Strangford Lough Wildfowlers Association. In July 2000, the site was granted BT Millennium Miles … [Read More...]

Balloo Nature Reserve

Balloo Nature Reserve is made up of two nature reserves on either side of the Balloo Road in Bangor - Balloo Wetland and Balloo Woodland. The reserves are managed by Ulster Wildlife on behalf of their owners, Ards and North Down Borough Council. Balloo Wetland Reserve is mainly open water fringed by marsh and has been transformed from a former waste ground into a wildlife haven. This 7.75 acre … [Read More...]

Invasive Alien Species

Derry City and Strabane District Council have been working with a range of partners to raise awareness, understanding and action of invasive alien species. Invasive alien species are species that have been (un)intentionally introduced into Northern Ireland from around the world. They are the second largest threat to biodiversity worldwide as they compete for habitat space, can change food supply, … [Read More...]

Mid Ulster Bird Ringing Project

Bird ringing is essential to the development of both bird science and bird conservation.  It dates back to 1899 when the first metal rings carrying a unique number were attached to the leg of a bird.  This innovation turned anonymous birds into recognisable individuals, identifiable as such for the rest of their lives. Ringing soon became a mainstay of migration studies worldwide, revealing … [Read More...]

Mid Ulster Biodiversity Project poster

The Mid Ulster Biodiversity Project poster provides a brief summary of the habitats and species that have been selected as Local Priorities through the Biodiversity Action Plan. It also highlights actions groups and individuals can undertake to help our local biodiversity. To view the poster, please click below: Mid Ulster Biodiversity Poster If you would like a copy of the poster, … [Read More...]

Let us know what wildlife you see!

A 'Wildlife Records Text Number' is available to make it easier for people to tell us what wildlife they see. There is a great variety of wildlife throughout the Mid Ulster area – important habitats include unimproved grassland, woodland, fens, bogs, rivers, ponds and lakes.  Each of these habitats supports its own range of plants and animals.  An initial Biodiversity Audit has been undertaken … [Read More...]

Swift - David Moreton - courtesy Swift Conservation

Mid Ulster Swifts

Swifts are those dark coloured streamlined birds which speed and scream over the rooftops of our buildings in the summer.  They have a fascinating way of life and a number of curious habits. Their Latin name, Apus apus, literally means ‘without feet’, and although their short legs and minute, slightly curved feet are ideal for clinging to walls and rock faces, they are useless for holding on to … [Read More...]

Help the House Sparrow

The once familiar house sparrow is in decline, and is now even absent from parts of the west of Northern Ireland. It is thought that this decline is due to a reduction in available invertebrates to feed their young, a reduction in grains and seeds to sustain them through the winter, and the loss of nest sites. House sparrows are opportunist and will live wherever there is somewhere suitable to … [Read More...]

A New ‘Home’ for Coalisland Otters

Otters (or least an otter), have taken up residence in an artificial holt built close to the Coalisland Canal. As throughout much of Europe, the wildlife in and around the canal has suffered in the past through poor water quality.  However, in latter years, improved water quality has seen a return of many aquatic species, including the otter.  Although a few otters are using the canal, it was … [Read More...]

Marsh Fritillaries in South Tyrone

Marsh Fritillary Re-found (but are they still there?) In a survey in 2011, marsh fritillary 'webs' had been found at a site in South Tyrone where they had not been recorded for a number of years.  Unfortunately a re-survey in 2012 drew a 'blank'. Once considered widespread across Europe, the marsh fritillary has declined severely and is a European threatened species.  The UK is a European … [Read More...]

Barn Owl Project

Barn Owl Project Walkers of the Coalisland Canal pathway may have noticed towering structures along the quieter sections of the route. Assisting the Dungannon & South Tyrone Biodiversity Action Plan, through the Ulster Wildlife Trust’s ‘Home to Roost’ project, 5 ‘pole mounted’ barn owl boxes were erected and an additional ‘tree mounted’ box put in place.  This activity is aimed at … [Read More...]

Waves of fun at World Oceans Day Celebration!

Want to know more about our oceans and have fun while doing it? On Saturday 6th June bring the whole family along to a celebration of World Oceans Day at Annalong Community Centre from 12-4pm. World Oceans Day, held every year on the 8th June, is the UN recognised day of ocean celebration and action. People all over the world organise celebrations to support action to protect the ocean. This … [Read More...]

Irish Whitebeam Project

              The Irish whitebeam (Sorbus hibernica) is one of the few plants endemic to Ireland.  It is a small sized deciduous tree, with a smooth, grey, but sometimes ridged bark.  The oval toothed leaves have 9-11 pairs of veins, are silvery white on top with a dense covering of white downy hairs on the undersides.  When leaves first … [Read More...]

Mid Ulster Biodiversity Action Plan

The Mid Ulster area is endowed with a rich and diverse range of landscapes and wildlife habitats that together distinguish its special character and identity. The Mid Ulster Biodiversity Action plan illustrates the key habitats and species that can be found within the area, and highlights the increasing need to protect and value our local biodiversity resource.   To view the Mid Ulster … [Read More...]

Local primary school provides homes for wildlife in Smiley Park, Larne

Pupils from St. MacNissi's Primary School in Larne recently took part in a project with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to make wildlife habitats in Smiley Park, a well wooded small amenity area near the centre of the town.  Under the experienced guidance of Adrian Woodley from the Ulster Wildlife Trust, the P5 pupils made a number of bird and bat boxes from pre-cut templates to put up in the … [Read More...]

Pine Marten making a comeback in Mid and East Antrim

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council along with ‘citizen scientists’ from the council area and  members of the  Glens Red Squirrel Group have been working with scientists from Quercus (QUB), over the last few months to help survey woodlands in the Mid and East Antrim Area for red squirrels, grey squirrels and pine marten.  The survey was part of a wider Northern Ireland survey funded through the … [Read More...]

New Nesting Habitat Created for Local Black Guillemots

The black guillemot or 'tystie' is one of our most charismatic birds with important populations breeding along our Coastlines.  Much of our local population breeds around the northern coast and their distribution is largely determined by the availability of suitable nest cavities that are safe from land predators such as rats, mink, stoats and otters. The expansion in the range of black guillemots … [Read More...]

A ‘Quacking’ Time at Glynn Station Birdwatch

A Birdwatch event is being held at Glynn Halt on the Larne Line on Saturday 20th December from 11am to 1pm. The event has been organised in partnership with Translink. The event is open to all whether this if your first time bird watching or you are an experienced and seasoned bird watcher. There will be bird experts on hand to help with identification, and telescopes, ID guides and binoculars … [Read More...]

Launch of the Mid and East Antrim Local Biodiversity Action Plan

The Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) for Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne Council areas, which will form the new Mid and East Antrim Council area was launched today at Ballygally Hall and marks what will be a key landmark for biodiversity conservation in the region. The plan was presented by the mayors of the three council boroughs of Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne and is considered an … [Read More...]

Biodiversity Summer School

The Biodiversity Summer School is a FREE outdoor event that will give families the opportunity to take part in fun biodiversity projects such as pond dipping, mini-beast hunts and bird box building. Learn about the natural world through a variety of activities and games. Date: Monday 4th to Friday 8th August 2014 – every morning from 11am to 1pm. Venue: Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead. (Meet … [Read More...]

Get stuck in this weekend at CKS community centre

As part of the Hedgerows Grow West project, Omagh District Council are teaming up with the CKS community and The Conservation Volunteers to offer a FREE training day in hedgerow planting and management. Come along to the CKS community centre in Omagh on Saturday 15th February 2014 at 10.30am to volunteer your time and muscle power at this one-off outdoor training day led by experts from The … [Read More...]

Hedgelaying Workshop in Newtownabbey

  … [Read More...]

We Need Your Christmas Trees!

It might seem that Christmas has only just past – but your real Christmas Tree could be used for another purpose in January 2014! An exciting project is underway to improve the Six Mile Water within the park in Ballyclare. Sections of the river bank within the Six Mile Water Park have become, over the years, bare and weakened, resulting in significant bank collapse in times of heavy rain/flow. … [Read More...]

Hedgerow Celebration in Antrim

A fun free hedgerow event will take place on Saturday 19 October, anytime between 10am to 3pm at Mill Race Trail, Kirby’s Lane car park, Antrim. Why not join us to help plant a hedge, try some hedgerow jam on a home baked scone and learn about growing plants from seeds. The event is part of the Hedgerow Hopes Project which is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. … [Read More...]

Things to Do with Blackberries

Wednesday 18th September 10am – 1pm £10 Museum at the Mill Forage Ireland (Mary and Dermot) We'll be making blackberry coulis, blackberry jelly and blackberry pancakes, and go for a wee walk around the glen to see if we can pick some. Participants will be able to take a jar of bramble jelly away with them. To book your place please contact Eileen Kruk on 90340139. … [Read More...]

Get Outdoors Weekend

Join the Woodland Trust and Newtownabbey Borough Council on Sunday 22nd September at 12noon - 3pm to explore Carnmoney Hill! Part of the Get Outdoors Weekend! www.GetOutdoorsWeekend.com … [Read More...]

Newtownabbey Green Volunteers!

Join the park wardens on the 3rd Saturday of evey month to get involved in local projects. Next activity - 21st Setpember, MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend, Jordanstown Loughshore Park, Newtownabbey from 3pm - 5pm. For more information please contact the Council's Biodiversity Officer. … [Read More...]

Join the Antrim Borough Biodiversity Forum

Would you like to do your bit in conserving your local environment?  Then why not come along to the Clotworthy Arts Centre in Antrim Castle Gardens, on Tuesday 27 August at 6.00pm for annual Biodiversity Forum. There will be a special treat this year, of some foraged food for you to try before the event. The Biodiversity Forum meets to contribute and to ensure active engagement with anyone who … [Read More...]

The European Hare vs the Irish Hare

The European Hare in the north of Ireland and its impact on the Irish Hare Wednesday 4 September 2013 7pm Toome House, Toomebridge Anthony Hallam, A PhD research student will deliver a talk on the unique status of the Irish hare and on the issue of the introduced European hares in Ireland. South Derry is one of the areas where both species overlap. Hybribisation may occur throughout … [Read More...]

FREE Riverbank Invasive Alien Species pockect identification guide.

Would you like a free Riverbank Invasive Alien Plants pocket identification guide? If so, just contact your Biodiversity Officer at Antrim Borough Council T: 9446 3113 ext 1371, E: ruth.wilson@antrim.gov.uk and make your request. The leaflets are also available to collect at most Council venues. Invasive Alien Species have colonised riverbanks throughout Northern Ireland. They threaten our … [Read More...]

Biodiversity Recording

Biodiversity Recording Events in Antrim

The Biodiversity Games is a recording project which is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, ‘Your Heritage’ Programme in partnership with eight biodiversity officers which aims to get people involved in helping their local biodiversity by ‘get recording’. As part of the project we are running several events here in Antrim. Wildflowers Count Saturday 15 June 10am … [Read More...]

Sea kale at Garron

Discovering our wonderful wildlife

A priority for the mid and east Antrim area is to produce a Local Biodiversity Action Plan. This document will include a Biodiversity Audit that will describe some of the important plant and animal life in the region and an Action Plan listing projects to help threatened species and habitats. Many experts have combed CountyAntrim, searching out rare and interesting wildlife, and we know at … [Read More...]

Mossley Mill Environmental Education Centre

Mossley Primary School have been enjoying the beautiful weather this week by taking part in an eco-adventure at Mossley Mill. A short walk from their school, Mossley Mill provides the perfect location for investigating local biodiversity. The woodland habitat along the Newtownabbey Way has provided opportunities for bug hunts while the purpose designed dipping pond has introduced the … [Read More...]

Kilbride Presbyterian Church wins Eco-Congregation Ireland’s 10th award!

The church has undertaken many steps in recent years to become more eco-friendly and is particularly noteworthy for its initiatives that benefit the local community, including litter picks, craft fairs, bulb-planting and helping developing a local river walk. Presenting the award, Sr Catherine Brennan, ECI chairperson, said: “We need to appreciate all over again that the Earth is vivified by … [Read More...]

The Litter Champions project in Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey has just under two months left to run! The project aims to encourage volunteers to make a difference in their community by challenging attitudes about littering. It offers support by providing members of the public with equipment to make litter clean-ups that little bit easier. Litter Champions are already hard at work all over the … [Read More...]

Have a really wild spring day at Gortin Glen Forest Park

You can have a really wild spring day at Gortin Glen Forest Park on Sunday 21st April, when the park comes alive with fun games and activities for all the family.  From 1pm to 4pm you can drop in and take part in all the free wildlife themed activities taking place and why not bring a picnic to make a day of it. This year, our annual spring day is bigger and better with more things to do and … [Read More...]

View from Gortmore

Limavady’s Coastal Biodiversity Booklet

Limavady Borough has a spectacular coastline stretching from Longfield Bank in the west along the eastern shore of Lough Foyle around Magilligan Point and along Benone Strand towards Downhill, and is a rewarding place to visit for anyone interested in nature. The coastline is exceptionally rich in biodiversity from its extensive sand dunes and its miles of pristine beaches, to Lough Foyle, … [Read More...]

Biodiversity Games 2012

Biodiversity Games 2012

In 2012 The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) award of a £48,000 grant to support a partnership of 13 local councils as they equip and train the next generation of biodiversity recording and conservation volunteers. This new project will enable local people to learn more about and connect with the biodiversity of their area. To kick start this two year project we held a series of themed events … [Read More...]

Wildlife Gardening Completion

Wildlife Gardening Completion

The 2012 summer saw Ballymoney, Coleraine, Limavady and Moyle Councils inviting local residents to make the most of the better weather, get outdoors, transform their gardens into a mini nature reserve and enter the Wildlife Gardening Competition 2012. The response was excellent, with entries of gardens of all shapes and sizes. Gardens entered included a variety of features supporting wildlife such … [Read More...]

Bats Bio-recording Project

Bats Bio-recording Project

Bats are shy and unobtrusive animals, seen only in the dim light at dusk.  Their wings make them look bigger than they really are, and as they swoop down after insects, people may sometimes feel uneasy.  Just not knowing much about them leads to misconceptions. To dispelling a couple of the most common myths about bats; Bats are not blind – they actually have good eyesight; and, bats will not … [Read More...]

Lagan Meadows Local Nature Reserve

Lagan Meadows Local Nature Reserve

Lagan Meadows was the source of Belfast’s first piped water supply over 200 years ago. The spring at Lester’s Dam, which provided the water, still runs and gives rise to the wetlands and marsh for which Lagan Meadows is best known. But this attractive 49 hectare site also contains grazed pasture, meadow and woodland. Separated from the main park by the former Lagan canal is Moreland’s Meadow, … [Read More...]

Stormont Estate and Glen

The grounds at Stormont once formed the private estate of the Cleland family. In the early 1920s the estate was acquired as the site for the new Parliament Buildings, which opened in 1932. Today the parkland is used for events and casual recreation. What is there to see? Birds, including rook (there is a rookery), great tit, blue tit, chaffinch, wren and long-tailed tit. Mammals, including red … [Read More...]

Sir-Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park is a large park on the southern outskirts of Belfast. The estate was bequeathed to Belfast by Lady Dixon in 1959. Although renowned for horticultural features such as the Rose Garden, this property contains expansive meadows, woodland and marsh, areas that attract wildlife from the nearby countryside. What is there to see? Birds, including a good range of parkland … [Read More...]

Tollymore Forest Park

Tollymore Forest Park

Covering an area of almost 630 hectares at the foot of the Mourne Mountains this Forest Park offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the sea at Newcastle. The forest has four walking trails signposted by different coloured arrows, the longest being the "long haul trail" at 8 miles (13 km) long. The Shimna River flows through the park. A population of red squirrels calls the … [Read More...]

Delamont Country Park

Delamont Country Park

Situated on the shores of Strangford Lough in an area of natural beauty, Delamont Country Park offers peace, beauty and tranquility. The stunning views across Strangford Lough and a relaxing atmosphere make Delamont a place to enjoy that "away from it all feeling". Home of the Strangford Stone - the tallest megalith in Ireland. This stunning and beautiful 200 acre Country Park, renowned for its … [Read More...]

Newry First Local Nature Reserve

Newry & Mourne’s First Local Nature Reserve

On Sunday 31st January 2010, Daisy Hill Wood in Newry opened its doors to nature lovers of all ages for a very special celebration. Much to the delight of local people, Newry and Mourne District Council has declared Daisy Hill Wood as a Local Nature Reserve - the first of its kind in Newry and Mourne. This new status will ensure that Daisy Hill Wood remains a protected site and will continue to … [Read More...]

Hedgerow Grow West Success Story - Ballykelly

Hedgerows Grow West

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded a £48,000 grant to a partnership of local councils for this new project which will protect, conserve, and celebrate the importance of hedgerows to our natural environment.  The funding is being used to bring together 10 councils to deliver conservation and heritage training activities for local communities to enable them to restore and manage these natural … [Read More...]

Red Squirrel

The native Red Squirrel is one of our most iconic and best-loved mammals, it is small and delicate with a deep red coat, bushy tail and tufted ears. Coniferous woodland has now become their refuge from the invading Grey Squirrel, and it is this habitat that you are most likely to see them, or signs of them. There are two groups operating within these four council areas; The Glens Red Squirrel … [Read More...]

Waterworks

The Waterworks contains two ponds, an upper and lower basin, constructed in the 1840s to serve as reservoirs.  In fact they only supplied Belfast with water for twenty years or so.  The ponds attract large numbers of waterfowl, and the two islands constructed in the 1980s, provide a safe refuge for nesting ducks. What is there to see? Birds including swift, sandmartin, house sparrow and reed … [Read More...]

Lagan Towpath

The Lagan towpath runs alongside the River Lagan and the former canal between Stranmillis and Lisburn – a distance of almost 15 kilometres.  Along the way there is much evidence of the area’s industrial past in the form of disused locks and weirs.  The towpath is very popular for walking, jogging and cycling. What is there to see? Water birds, including dabchick, moorhen, coot, grey wagtail, … [Read More...]

Hazelwood Local Nature Reserve

Hazelwood is a Local Nature Reserve on the steep slopes of Cave Hill above Belfast Zoo and the Antrim Road.  It contains what is probably a remnant ancient hazel woodland and is therefore of great botanical interest. A system of stone paths was constructed in the early 1900s so that visitors to the nearby Bellevue Pleasure Gardens could stroll through the woodland. Hazelwood is managed as part of … [Read More...]

Victoria Park

Victoria Park is a municipal park which opened in 1906.  The park is excellent for wildlife due to its proximity to tidal estuaries and the fact it contains a large area of open water. The open water section of the park is part of the Inner Belfast Lough Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI). What is there to see? Water birds, including mute swan, coot, moorhen, mallard, tufted duck, … [Read More...]

Cave Hill Country Park

Cave Hill Country Park is one of the most frequented regions of the Belfast Hills.  Visitors can ramble across the upland heath between Hazelwood and Carr’s Glen, and enjoy spectacular views of Belfast and beyond.  The park, which covers 300 hectares, was established in 1993.  It contains sites of geological, archaeological and historical interest, including several raths, the remains of a stone … [Read More...]

Bog Meadows

Bog Meadows comprises the 16 remaining hectares of the Blackstaff River flood plains, and is therefore of historical significance.  Despite its position, wedged between Falls Road housing and M1 Motorway, it is extremely valuable for wildlife and is widely used for environmental education.  Dsignated as a Local Nature Reserve, Bog Meadows contains open water, reed beds, marsh, meadow and alder … [Read More...]

Belfast Harbour Reserve

The lagoon was formed when an area of the south shore of Belfast Lough was enclosed and infilled with mud dredged from the Lough.  Before this process was complete, rainwater formed a freshwater lagoon, which began to draw in large numbers of birds.  Through the Belfast Harbour Forum, agreement was reached to preserve the area.  The management of the 13-hectare site was entrusted to the RSPB, and … [Read More...]

Divis Mountain

Divis Mountain is the highest of the Belfast Hills, some 480 metres above sea level, and is perhaps best known for the mast that rises from the summit.  The National Trust manages about 600 hectares.  The area is best known for the presence of blanket bog and upland heath which are rare in an international context. What is there to see? Birds including snipe, curlew, meadow pipit, skylark, … [Read More...]

Barnett Demesne

Barnett Demesne is a 40-hectare park in south Belfast, bequeathed to the city in 1934.  The estate was originally established in the seventeenth century, but was extensively landscaped in the 1830s resulting in the open parkland and mature specimen trees so familiar today.  Rolling meadows and broad-leaved woodland lead from Malone House down to the River Lagan, which forms the southern boundary … [Read More...]

Belvoir Forest Park

Belvoir Forest Park, the largest forest on the outskirts of the city, was opened in 1961.  It contains a Norman motte and a fourteenth-century, ruined graveyard.  Today the site is a working forest and contains the oldest known oaks in Ireland dated, from 1642. What is there to see? Birds, including crossbill, siskin, jay, sparrowhawk, redpoll and goldcrest.  There are winter roosts of tens … [Read More...]

Portglenone Forest

The entrance to the forest and car park is signposted just south of Portglenone village and there is a good network of paths through the woodlands. Portglenone Forest is famous for its wonderful carpets of bluebells in May. The groundflora also includes wood anemone, wild garlic, lords and ladies, broadleaved helleborine and bird’s-nest orchid. It is considered to be a long established woodland … [Read More...]

Sallagh Braes

Sallagh Braes, a prominent basalt scarp in the uplands to the west of Ballygally, can be accessed by following the Ulster Way footpath, which is signposted from Linford car park on the Feystown Road. There are a number of historical records for rare plants at Sallagh Braes and the adjacent cliffs of KnockDhu, and recent surveys have noted mossy saxifrage, mountain avens and spring sandwort in … [Read More...]

Portmuck and Isle of Muck

Portmuck is accessed via a steep, twisting road at the northern end of Islandmagee. There is a car park by the harbour. Access is not permitted to Muck Island, which is an Ulster Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve. A footpath at the harbour leads to a vantage point at the top of the cliffs, which provides a wonderful panoramic view across the North Channel. Sections of the east Antrim and Scottish … [Read More...]

Cranny Falls

Access is via a footpath that follows the route of the former mineral railway line from the harbour at Carnlough up the hill to the site of the quarry. Cranny Falls includes a beautiful, secluded waterfall in a wooded valley and a disused limestone quarry, where there are cliffs, wetlands and well drained thin grasslands on old spoil heaps. The woodland includes hazel, ash, willow, hawthorn and … [Read More...]

Brown’s Bay and Skernahan

Brown’s Bay, a sandy beach at the northern end of Islandmagee and the adjacent National Trust site at Skernahan are popular destinations, particularly in hot weather. There is good road access and car parking. The coastal strip around Skernahan, cliffs and rocky shore are of biodiversity importance, with unimproved grassland with species including cat’s ear, milkwort, devil’s bit scabious, … [Read More...]

Antrim Coast Road

The dramatic coast road north of Larne is rightly famous for its dramatic cliffs of black basalt and white limestone and is also a great place to discover wildlife. There are car parks and stopping points along the route. The vegetation associated with maritime cliff and slope habitat includes some rare plants such as rock samphire which is found at Garron and Scots lovage, a Northern Ireland … [Read More...]

Carrickfergus Mill Ponds LNR

Carrickfergus Mill Ponds is three hectares of land which is an urban oasis for wildlife. The main features of the site are the two former mill ponds which form part of the rich and varied industrial heritage of Carrickfergus. The site also includes wetlands, mature trees, species rich hedgerows and grassland, with a good range of species for the size of the area. The Sullatober River flows through … [Read More...]

Straidkilly Nature Reserve

This Ulster Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve is situated by the Straidkilly Road, an inland route between Glenarm and Carnlough on the hill slope above the Coast Road. Informal paths provide a circular walk around the site, though the ground is uneven and care is required. Woodland dominated by hazel and ash is found at a number of places near the east Antrim coast, generally on steep slopes that … [Read More...]

The Frosses

Driving along the main road from Ballymena to Coleraine, the route used by many holidaymakers heading for the north coast, the road at the Frosses is bounded by very distinctive rows of Scot’s pine trees. There is no lay-by but driving off the main road there are interesting places to explore in the area. Much of mid Antrim has a pastoral landscape of improved agricultural land though there are … [Read More...]

Slemish

Perhaps the best known landmark in mid Antrim is Slemish, a steep sided hill east of Broughshane. The route is signposted from Broughshane to the slopes of the hill, where there is a car park, picnic tables and interpretative information. From the car park a steep, rocky path leads to the summit. The uplands around Slemish are predominantly rush pasture, heath and blanket bog. In the higher … [Read More...]

Ecos Nature Park

Ecos Nature Park is situated east of Ballymena, between the town and the motorway. The entrance is signposted from the motorway. There is an excellent network of public paths and car parking spaces are available. Ecos is an extensive mosaic of meadows, wet grassland, open water and recently planted woodland. The site was developed from semi-improved grazed grasslands as a Millennium project. … [Read More...]

Volunteers help protect beautiful butterflies!

Butterfly enthusiasts from across the Borough and beyond came together recently to carry out some vital work at Craigavon Lakes Local Nature Reserve. The event, which was organised by Craigavon Borough Council’s Conservation Team in partnership with Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland, involved volunteers removing invasive scrub from an area which is vitally important to the Cryptic Wood … [Read More...]

Watch This Space

Belfast City Council have teamed up with the Ulster Wildlife Trust (UWT) to create Watch This Space, a project which encourages children and their families to enjoy their local parks to develop their knowledge of biodiversity. Activities include mini-beast hunts, tree planting, seed collection, games and crafts and bird identification. Resources for teachers As part of this project, we have … [Read More...]

Hedgerow Hopes

Species-rich hedgerows are important to us as well as to our wildlife.  They are of historical importance often marking townland or estate boundaries.  They also: provide colour, shelter and food, act as stock barriers, and prevent soil erosion. Unfortunately, many of our native hedgerows have lost a lot of these benefits due to neglect or mismanagement.  Belfast City, Antrim, … [Read More...]

Biodiversity Recording

Biodiversity Games

We want you to help Belfast go for gold in the Biodiversity Games – the sport of spotting wildlife! The games will take place throughout 2013 and will be themed around the following three areas: garden wildlife bats moths and butterflies. To get involved, simply come along any of the Biodiversity Games events to learn all about identifying wildlife on your doorstep. We also want you … [Read More...]

Autumn Hedgerow Forage – Hedgerow Hopes Event

21st September 10.30am – 1pm Join us foraging through the Lagan Valley Regional Park and discover the bounty of hedgerows in Autumn.  Meet in the Lockview car park, Stranmillis at 10.30 am. Booking Required. Contact Belfast City Council. Tel 028 9032 0202 ext 6652. The Hedgerow Hopes project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund (www.hlf.org.uk), ‘Your … [Read More...]

Wild about Wildlife – Biodiversity Games Event

17 August 10am – 2pm Come along to our interactive family fun day at the Ulster Hall and learn about our local amazing wildlife.  There will be art and craft activities and environmental organisations on hand to tell you all about moths and butterflies, birds, trees and plants.  We will also be screening “A Bugs Life” For adults there will be talks and practical workshops to learn how to … [Read More...]

Bat Relay – Biodiversity Games Event

6 August 8pm – 10.30pm Join us for a bat walk and talk where our bat expert will relay her knowledge. There will be a talk in Malone House to start and then a walk through the park and along the Lagan to search for bats.  Bring along a torch.  Some bat detectors will be available for use. Meet at Malone House. Booking required. Contact Belfast City Council. Tel 028 9032 0202 ext 6652. The … [Read More...]

Foraging talk and tasting session – Hedgerow Hopes Event

5 June 1pm – 2pm Come along to our lunchtime interactive talk at the Ulster Hall and we will show you how to identify and cook with wild plants.  Discover what to do with wild garlic, rosehips, elderflowers and berries.  We’ll suggest some recipes to get you started and there will be small tasting sessions to whet your appetite. To book contact 028 9033 4475 or email … [Read More...]

Spring Forage – Hedgerow Hopes Event

27 April 2pm – 4.30pm Join us foraging at Cave Hill and discover the natural Spring bounty.  Learn how to use and cook with plants such as wild garlic and spring greens.  Meet at Belfast Castle, at 2pm. Booking required. Contact Belfast City Council. Tel 028 9032 0202 ext 6652. The Hedgerow Hopes project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund … [Read More...]

Malone Golf Club Habitat Enhancements

The Golf Club was originally part of the 17th century Ballydrain Estate.  The site consists of parkland with mature trees and incorporates Ballydrain Lake, which is the largest area of open water in Belfast and a Site of Local Nature Conservation Importance (SLNCI). The site is important for birds.  Species recorded on the site include bullfinch, skylark, song thrush, starling, buzzard and … [Read More...]

New Homes for Frogs and Dragonflies

Belfast City Council has been working with Rivers Agency and the Lagan Valley Regional Park to create wetland habitats in Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park.  Through the creation of open water and areas that are only wet for parts of the year, we hope to attract species such as dragonflies, newts and frogs. Creatures such as mayflies and water beetles live in very shallow water, while frogs for … [Read More...]

Hazelwood Woodland Management Project

Hazelwood is an important area of hazel woodland on the slopes of Cave Hill.  It was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1991.  The site is threatened by Sycamore, an invasive non-native species. Belfast City Council, in partnership with Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland have undertaken extensive management including: removal of mature sycamore, planting of … [Read More...]

Celebrating the Coast

Whitehead developed as a coastal community, situated on the northern side of Belfast Lough. The nearby towns of Carrickfergus and Larne have a long history as ports and coastal transport by boat from smaller harbours used to be important. Whitehead has a history of tourism based around walks and tours along the scenic coast and this is an area renowned for wildlife, which includes regular sitings … [Read More...]

Hedgerow Hopes

Southeast Antrim is one of four regions involved in the Heritage Lottery funded Hedgerow Hopes project, which started in 2012 and will continue until 2015. Hedgerows are an important habitat for a wide range of wildlife including birds, bats, field mice, badgers and hedgehogs. In many agricultural landscapes the margins of hedges are also the only places where wildflowers can thrive. Hedges act as … [Read More...]

Many more trees please

Ireland is the least wooded region of Europe and planting trees is a great way for everyone to help the environment. A number of community tree days were organised at in mid and east Antrim by the Biodiversity Officer in the 2012-13 tree planting season and he also provides advice on woodland management and tree care at every opportunity. In the Larne area, the grounds of Larne Grammar School … [Read More...]

Having a quacking Christmas

Larne Lough is famous for its birdlife. One highlight is the tern colony on the tiny Swan Island and the man-made Blue Circle Island, situated near Magheramorne. Common gull, greenshank and redshank are also present in nationally important numbers and overwintering birds including goldeneye, great crested grebe, red-breasted merganser, shelduck and light-bellied Brent goose. Little egret, an … [Read More...]

Celebrating World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day, celebrated on June 8, is an opportunity to highlight the importance of the marine environment that has been taken up with enthusiasm in east Antrim. In 2012, events held on this date included a Whale Watch organised with Ian Enlander of Northern Ireland Environment Agency at Portmuck, Islandmagee, and a children’s environmental art project at Ballygally. Islandmagee has a … [Read More...]

Council recognises local wildlife friendly gardens

The new Down District Council offices at Downshire Civic Centre were the venue for a celebration of local biodiversity when Danielle Begley, Biodiversity Officer, announced the results of the Council’s Wildlife Gardening Competition. The competition, run as part of the Down District Local Biodiversity Action Plan, encouraged schools, businesses, community groups and individuals in the district to … [Read More...]

One Million Trees in One Day Project

The One Million Trees Project planting day has been postponed to Friday 26th April. If you are interested in taking part, please contact Danielle Begley on 028 30313100. One Million Trees in One Day is a charity, not-for-profit, cross-border, community and environmental initiative which will plant a million young native trees at many different sites across both the Republic of Ireland and … [Read More...]

Kilbride Cemetery gets a work team

A beautiful, crisp February morning saw 17 pupils from Kilbride Central Primary School joining local volunteers and the Council Cemeteries Team to do their bit for biodiversity at Kilbride Cemetery. Some tree planting was the first job on the list with pupils planting hawthorn and blackthorn whips to fill gaps in the mature hedge which surrounds the site.  A copse of trees were also planted in … [Read More...]

Rare butterfly flying high at Drumquin

On Saturday 2nd June 2012, Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland (BCNI) visited Drumquin with the hope of finding local NI priority species of butterfly; the Marsh Fritillary, Small Heath and Cryptic Wood White. The visit was lead by Ian Rippey, chairman of Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland Branch, alongside Catherine Bertrand the Senior Regional Officer in Northern Ireland. Six other … [Read More...]

Omagh Schools help create wildlife haven at Drumragh Integrated College.

Local school children became eco warriors for a day when they helped pupils of Drumragh Integrated College turn school grounds into a wildlife haven.  In partnership with Omagh District Councils ‘Hedgerows Grow West’ project, the action day kick-started Drumagh Integrated Colleges Eco Week. Throughout the day pupils from Cooley Primary School, St. Connor’s Primary School and St. Patricks … [Read More...]

Lottery boost for Omagh’s natural heritage

A new natural heritage project is to get underway in Grange Park, Omagh with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, it was announced today.  The £10,400 grant was awarded to Omagh District Council and will be used to create a new tree trail and run a number of small conservation projects within the park. Grange Park is the main Council owned park in Omagh town and currently attracts … [Read More...]

Ready, Steady, Grow!

With a slight glimpse of spring on the horizon, now is the perfect time to get outdoors and get ready, steady, to grow your own fruit and vegetables!  Start your planning now by enjoying one of Omagh District Councils ‘Grow Your Own’ one day courses on Wednesday 6th March at MACCA, Omagh or Wednesday 20th March, Glenhordial Permaculture Farm. These comprehensive one day courses are ideal for … [Read More...]

Our Summer Visitor, the Basking Shark

The North Coast is lucky enough to play host to the majestic basking sharks, which can be seen in Northern Irish waters from April to September.  This shark gets its name because it is most often seen feeding near the surface of the sea and appears to be ‘basking in the sun. Basking Sharks are the largest fish found in Northern Ireland waters and the second largest fish found in the sea. They … [Read More...]

Swifts

Swifts are those dark coloured streamlined birds with long pointed wings, which speed and scream over the rooftops of our buildings in the summer.  They are with us for just 3-4 months each year, bringing drama and excitement to our streets and skies. They have a fascinating way of life and a number of curious habits - such as being able to fly while sleeping! One amazing fact is that a … [Read More...]

Open your own butterfly cafe

Many of us enjoy watching butterflies flitting from flower to flower on sunny days, the peacock, meadow brown and speckled wood to name but a few. But have you ever thought about creating your own butterfly garden? It couldn’t be easier. By creating a butterfly area in your garden you are helping provide a nectar source for our wonderful native butterflies and bringing excitement and colour to … [Read More...]

Figure of Eight Moth

Over a weekend in October 2011, the Causeway Coast and Glens Council Cluster Biodiversity Officer in partnership with Butterfly Conservation NI, conducted a survey of the winter moths in Castlerock. The result of which was a rare find, the ‘Figure of Eight moth’, one of Northern Ireland’s priority species, was discovered on The Moors within Castlerock during the moth survey. The ‘Figure of … [Read More...]

Drumaheglis Going Native

In 2013 Ballymoney Council started taking positive steps to enhance Drumaheglis Marine and Caravan Park, for the benefit of visitors, the local community and biodiversity through a series of improvement works, one of which was ‘Going Native’. This exciting project will see Drumaheglis non-native trees being replaced over the following few years with a new native woodland which is an excellent … [Read More...]

Tree Planting in Riverside Park

Pupils and staff from Dalriada Schools Conservation Society teamed up with Ballymoney Borough Council grounds staff and Biodiversity Officer to plant native trees in Riverside Park. The trees were all grown from seed by the schools Conservation Society and Carpet Right donated carpet tiles to use as mulch mats. … [Read More...]

The Moors

The Moor

This is a fabulous coastal headland on the edge of Castlerock, adjacent to Downhill. Take a walk around the headland, enjoy the cliff nesting birds, plant life such as thrifts and tormentil, and don’t forget to look out to sea and you might be lucky to get a glimpse of the majestic basking shark swimming past. On a good a good day you can see down the coast to Portstewart and Portrush and across … [Read More...]

The Dark Hedges

This group of trees known locally as ‘the dark hedges’ are thought to be around 300 years old. They are reputedly haunted by a spectral ‘grey lady’ and form an arch over the road. They have become a much photographed natural monument within the Ballymoney Borough. Call into Ballymoney TIC for directions and a free map. … [Read More...]

Roe Valley Country Park

Roe Valley Country Park

Roe Valley Country Park extends for three miles along both sides of the River Roe near Limavady. The river plunges through spectacular gorges and its banks are clothed with mature mixed woodland. In springtime, the woodland floor is covered with a carpet of wild flowers. A fascinating array of damp loving plants thrive all year round in the moist shade of the riverbank slopes. The Park is the … [Read More...]

Roe Estuary

Roe Estuary

The extensive mud flats of the Roe Estuary are exposed at low tide and hiding just below the surface is a banquet of small seashore animals such as lugworm, shrimps, ragworm and periwinkles. There are also large beds of mussels and extensive areas covered in eel grass. All of which are the food that attracts many thousands of migrating waders, ducks, swans and geese that stop over on Lough Foyle … [Read More...]

Riverside Park

Riverside Park

Riverside Parks initial phases were developed in the 1970’s, its vision was to be a linear open green space and wildlife corridor, primarily concentrating on leisure provision and amenity value, and has since been developed over the years for its biodiversity value too, which is dominated by the Ballymoney River flowing through its heart. The parks riverside walks and cycle path are enjoyed by a … [Read More...]

Roe Estuary

River Roe

The River Roe is an extremely important river for Atlantic Salmon with 8% of the Northern Ireland spawning population and making the river and its tributaries one of the most important salmon rivers in the British Isles. The River Roe and its tributaries are among the most productive rivers within the Foyle area. It also has a considerable run of migratory sea trout. The fish community … [Read More...]

Myroe Levels

Myroe Levels

Myroe Levels comprises reclaimed farmland, protected from Lough Foyle by a sea wall. A network of sheughs (open field drainage ditches), on the farmland and the Lough shore itself provide a variety of habitats where you will experience spectacular wintering populations of whooper and Bewick’s swan, along with great crested grebe, widgeon, shelduck and teal. Keep an eye out for common seal and … [Read More...]

River Bann reedbeds

The River Bann

The River Bann flows from the south east corner of Northern Ireland to the north west coast, via Lough Neagh. It is the longest river in Northern Ireland at 80 miles long. There are many important species associated with the river including otter, bat species, Atlantic salmon, brown trout, eel and sea lamprey. Rivers also provide valuable wildlife corridors for species to move from one area to … [Read More...]

Rathlin Island - Kebble

Kebble Nature Reserve, Rathlin Island

At the western end of Rathlin Island, sheer cliffs rise more than 100 metres above raised beaches of rounded cobbles, while towering stacks of rock stand guard just off the shore. The best time of the year to visit Kebble is the height of the breeding season for seabirds, early May to mid July, when the rough faces of the cliffs and rocky islands are crowded with thousands of breeding … [Read More...]

Garry Bog

The Ballymoney area has a wealth of boglands including 3 designated lowland raised bogs, Caldnagh Bog, Dunloy Bog and the internationally recognised Garry Bog. Dunloy and Garry Bogs are two of the largest remaining areas of undamaged lowland raised bog in Northern Ireland, both of which retain a large intact dome and rare sphagnum mosses are found at both sites. Turf cutting at Garry Bog has … [Read More...]

Dungiven Castle Park

Dungiven Castle Park

This park is situated in the heart of Dungiven, and rolls down a gentle slope behind the Castle. It has a network of paths which takes you through this parks woodland, wet meadows and ponds. Take time to watch out for the abundant wildlife to be found; dragonflies, birds and butterflies such as The speckled wood butterfly. As the name suggested its main habitat is woodland, but it can also be seen … [Read More...]

Drumaheglis Marina

Drumaheglis Caravan Park & Marina

Bann Woods North or the Bann Dumps are a series of six small woods, of which Drumaheglis is one, adjacent to the River Bann. They are located south of Coleraine and extending south to the Agivey Bridge close to Ballymoney. These areas of woodland were created when material dredged from the River Bann, during the 1930’s was piped ashore and left to dry out in lagoons. They formed these flat … [Read More...]

Cottage Wood

Cottage wood

Cottage wood is found on the outskirts of Cushendall village, it is a 10 acre broadleaved woodland site with a network of paths winding their way through it, viewpoints and picnic facilities. What makes this woodland a must to visit is a very special and increasingly rare inhabitant, the Red Squirrel, which are regularly seen in this woodland. There is pedestrian access from Shore Road, with … [Read More...]

Binevenagh viewed from Balls point

Binevneagh & Gortmore

Binevenagh towers over the coastal landscape of Limavady Borough giving breathtaking views of Lough Foyle, Inishowen and the northern coastline. The cliffs create a unique habitat in Northern Ireland where arctic alpine plant species such as purple saxifrage can be found. It is also a nesting place for a range of birds including the peregrine falcon. At Gortmore you can walk along the cliff-line … [Read More...]

Benone

Benone Strand

Benone Strand is one of the north coast’s best loved beaches. Take the time to wander through the extensive dune grasslands at Benone Strand to find a wealth of wildlife including the delicate and striking common blue and ringlet butterflies, six-spot burnet moth and possibly an Irish Hare. Take a closer look at the dunes not only is there marram grass but a wealth of other plants including wild … [Read More...]

Barmouth from Castlerock

Barmouth

The Bann Estuary acts as a highway for birds entering and leaving Ireland along the Bann / Lough Neagh System, there are significant numbers of passage and wintering waders such as lapwing, golden plover and curlew  and it is also important for breeding species including shelduck, redshank, snipe and lapwing. Along the river estuary itself you will find areas of saltmarsh and bulrush, reeds. … [Read More...]

Ballykelly Levels

Ballykelly Bank

Located on the eastern shore of Lough Foyle, Ballykelly Bank is bounded on one side by the Lough shore and on the other side by freshwater ponds, reedbeds and reclaimed farmland. If you take a walk you will be rewarded with views of waders and wildfowl such as oystercatchers, redshank, and lapwing. Keep an eye out for otter spraints and if you are lucky you may see one. Access and … [Read More...]

Balls Point

Ball’s Point

Ball's Point is located to the north of the Roe Estuary at one of the widest parts of Lough Foyle. It overlooks extensive intertidal mudflats and sandflats that provide a rich feeding ground for the thousands of migrating waders, ducks, swans and geese including ring plover and bar tailed godwit. Ball's point has the highest diversity of sediment and community types in Lough Foyle and holds … [Read More...]

Magilligan Point

Situated at the most north-western tip of the north coast, Magilligan Point lies at the western edge of one of the most extensive sand dune systems in the UK and Ireland that runs all the way to Downhill. The valleys, known as slacks, between the dunes provide warm, sheltered havens for butterflies and moths even on breezy days. Upon the beach you will find a large variety of seashells … [Read More...]

Biodiversity Awareness Survey

In 2008, Derry City Council commissioned a Biodiversity Awareness Survey to establish the baseline of biodiversity awareness in the area. The survey was repeated in 2010 and 2012, to meet Derry's Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) objective, to conduct Biodiversity Awareness Surveys every two years. The survey results show that 85% of respondents were aware of the term ‘biodiversity’ and 80% … [Read More...]

Hedgerows Grow West

This is a cross-council project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which focuses on the conservation and protection of hedgerows as a regional and local priority habitat. The project will assist in the conservation of hedgerows, through practical management and restoration. Species rich hedgerows have been planted at local schools, Loughs Agency and at local parks throughout the two districts. … [Read More...]

Biodiversity Games

An exciting new initiative, called the Biodiversity Games project, is being run across Newry, Mourne and Down District Council areas. This is a recording project which is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, ‘Your Heritage’ Programme in partnership with seven other Biodiversity Officers which aims to get people involved in helping their local biodiversity by … [Read More...]

Ring of Gullion Red Squirrel Group Established

A red squirrel group has been set up for the Ring of Gullion area. The newly formed Ring of Gullion Red Squirrel Group met for their first ever AGM at Slieve Gullion Courtyard in July 2012. The Red Squirrel Group is part of the Ring of Gullion AONB management plan and the Newry and Mourne Local Biodiversity Action Plan, and the formation of this group is another step towards ensuring the … [Read More...]

Newry & Mourne’s First Local Nature Reserve

On Sunday 31st January 2010, Daisy Hill Wood in Newry opened its doors to nature lovers of all ages for a very special celebration. Much to the delight of local people, Newry and Mourne District Council has declared Daisy Hill Wood as a Local Nature Reserve - the first of its kind in Newry and Mourne. This new status will ensure that Daisy Hill Wood remains a protected site and will continue to … [Read More...]

Wildflower walk

12 June. Wednesday, 7-9pm Shane's Castle Estate Booking required. For further information or to book your place please contact, Ruth Wilson, Biodiversity Officer T: 9446 3113 ext 1371 ruth.wilson@antrim.gov.uk. A special opportunity to see the wonderful wildflower meadows in Shane's Castle Estate, explore some of the hidden parts of the estate and find out how this species-rich habitat … [Read More...]

Dawn Chorus

Sunday 28 April, 5.30am Rea’s Wood, Antrim To book your place or for further details, please contact: Brenda Campbell, Antrim RSPB Group T. 028 9332 3657 E. brendacampbell@supanet.com or Ruth Wilson, Biodiversity Officer T. 028 9446 3113 E. ruth.wilson@antrim.gov.uk Early birds” are in for a treat. The walk will start at 5.30am and will last approximately 2 hours. Along the way take the … [Read More...]

An introduction to Bumblebee Identification

Saturday 3rd August 10.30am to 2.30pm Antrim Castle Gardens Places limited. Booking required. No charge. Ruth Wilson, Biodiversity Officer Antrim Borough Council T: 028 9446 3113 ext 1371 Did you know there are 101 bee species in Ireland? 20 of these species are bumblebees, and more than half of these bumblebees are in decline. To learn more facts, and tips on how you can record these … [Read More...]

BIG butterfly Count

Tuesday 30 July 10am-12 Antrim Castle Gardens All spectators welcome. Ruth Wilson, Biodiversity Officer Antrim Borough Council T: 028 9446 3113 ext 1371 Come and join in the BIG Butterfly Count. Perhaps we’ll see a Peacock or a Small Tortoiseshell feeding on the Lavender. Or we’ll find a Speckled Wood in the Wildwood. At the beginning of the event there will also be an opportunity to … [Read More...]

Ladybird identification

Saturday 29 June 10am-3pm Antrim Castle Gardens Places limited. Booking required.No charge. Ruth Wilson, Biodiversity Officer Antrim Borough Council T: 028 9446 3113 ext 1371 Did you know there are 15 varieties of Ladybird in Northern Ireland? This event will include a talk on identification of species in this small group, and then a look at Ladybirds captured using sweep nets around … [Read More...]

Wildflowers Count

Saturday 25 May 10am - 12pm Antrim Castle Gardens Places limited. Booking required. No Charge. Ruth Wilson, Biodiversity Officer Antrim Borough Council T: 028 9446 3113 ext 1371 Learn how to carry out a ‘Wildflowers Count’ survey for Plantlife. The UK’s only annual wild plant survey. Many of our more common species of flower can easily be taken for granted, often overlooked while we … [Read More...]

Hedgerow Hopes

Come along to one of our Hedgerow Hopes events to find out what biodiversity our native hedges support, how to restore a hedgerow and why they are one of nature’s food stores. Species-rich hedgerows are important to us as well as to our wildlife. They are of historical and landscape importance often marking townland or estate boundaries. They also: provide colour, shelter and … [Read More...]

Funding boost for Bats!

Creggan Country Park and NI Bat Group have received funding from the NIEA Challenge Fund for a province wide batty project in 2013. Local environmental charities will receive £125,000 from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency to carry out projects between now and the end of March 2013.  The Challenge Fund 2013 builds on the success of a pilot programme in 2012 in which NIEA challenged local … [Read More...]

Swift – Bird of the Borough

Antrim recently adopted the Swift as the Bird of the Borough! RSPB Antrim Local Group were concerned that the number of Swifts returning to the borough had declined and some of their well-known nest sites had been lost so they raised the issue with Council with a request for the Swift to be the Bird of the Borough. Swifts travel to Northern Ireland from Africa staying here for just over 3 … [Read More...]

Lilian Bland Community Garden

Lilian Bland Community Garden

As part of the Lilian Bland Community Garden project, in the first stages of the garden design, it was decided to include an art piece that could involve and inspire the local schools in the Glengormley area. St Marys on the Hill and Ashgrove Primary Schools P5 classes have both been involved from the beginning every step of the way, brainstorming, sketching, designing and creating the piece. … [Read More...]

Green Volunteers

Newtownabbey Way Green Volunteers

A small but strong group of volunteers have been busy doing their bit to enhance the Newtownabbey Way for both wildlife and people.  From tree and bulb planting to litter picking and hedge maintenance – once a month this very capable group get together to get active along the Newtownabbey Way. As spring peeps it head around the corner and snowdrops, wood anemone and wild garlic appear out of … [Read More...]

Traditional Forestry Management on the Newtownabey Way 2

Horses and their role in sensitive woodland management.

One of the many gems of along the Newtownabbey Way is the valley carved by the Three Mile Water. This section of the path is dominated by coniferous forestry on both sides of the river.  While these trees have certainly served their purpose providing habitat and shelter for a variety of wildlife, they have now reached maturity and require maintenance with many of the trees showing signs of … [Read More...]

Litter Champions

Litter Champions!

So you want to help keep our borough tidy? Calling all Litter Role models - would you benefit from a FREE litter picker? The Litter Champions Project aims to encourage volunteers to make a difference in their community by challenging attitudes about littering. A new community project is being launched throughout Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey to support role models in their efforts to rid … [Read More...]

Hedge laid at Mossley Mil

Hedgerow Hopes Project

Hedgerow Hopes is a partnership project between four local councils; Antrim, Belfast, Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey Borough Councils, to celebrate and promote the biodiversity importance of our native hedgerows through the involvement of local people. Hedgerow Hopes is an exciting new project linking the four council areas and promoting the importance of our native hedgerows. The project … [Read More...]

Huge Water Beetle

Eco Club at Mossley Mill

Eco Club at Mossley Mill is a new monthly club for kids aged 8 - 12 with an interest in wildlife and all things wild! Our new eco-club helps children explore nature and have lots of fun too with games, activities and crafts! Getting involved and discovering the outdoors to see what nature has to offer. Find a beetles hiding place, look beneath the surface of a pond and the watery world beneath … [Read More...]

Christmas Tree Riverbank

Creating a Christmas Tree Riverbank!

An exciting project is underway to improve the Six Mile Water within the park in Ballyclare. Sections of the river bank within the Six Mile Water Park have become, over the years, bare and weakened, resulting in significant bank collapse in times of heavy rain/flow. This is largely due to a lack of bankside vegetation however the significant numbers of ducks on this site have added to the problem. … [Read More...]

Lough Corr ASSI

A diverse upland wetland, situated on the eastern slopes of Bolaght Mountain, with good quality fen, swamp and freshwater communities. Lough Corr is a mesotrophic lake (moderate water levels), surrounded by purple moorgrass, which are classified as priority habitats in Northern Ireland. Additional habitat diversity is provided by areas of cut over bog, wet heath and scrub, north of the Lough. … [Read More...]

Moor Lough

This 16 ha upland mesotrophic lake, is surrounded by upland peat and provides recreational facilities for walkers, cyclists and anglers. … [Read More...]

Sperrins ANOB

The Sperrins is a 100 km site, offering a range of recreational activities to include angling, cycling and walking. … [Read More...]

Strabane Glen ASSI

This narrow valley was formed during the last deglaciation. It supports calcareous mixed woodland, with a river and steep gorge slopes. It provides a habitat for the red squirrel. … [Read More...]

The Burn Walk

This Woodland Trust site, with 1 ha of mixed woodland, was planted in 1999, as part of the 'Woods On Your Doorstep' community woodland creation. This new woodland compliments the existing woodland within the Pattens Glen, along the Cavanlee River and its waterfalls, adjacent to Strabane. It provides a habitat for a range of insects, birds and butterflies … [Read More...]

Killeter Forest

This is one of the largest areas of coniferous woodland in Ireland, which is owned and managed by Forest Service. There are several walking routes throughout the woodland for recreational activities.  It provides a valuable habitat for the red squirrel. … [Read More...]

Robbers Table

Why not take a walk over Robbers Table and see at first hand the colourful display of ling and bell heather, or catch a glimpse of a soaring buzzard. The Robbers Table Walk starts in Gortin Glen Forest Park. … [Read More...]

Bessy Bell

Hike the eastern side of Bessy Bell up through farmland leading you over blanket bog, heathland to the summit for a breathtaking view.  The way marked trail begins at the Mellon Country Inn.  GR - H417812 … [Read More...]

Pigeon Top

Pigeon Top is a local viewpoint overlooking the heathland below and the Fairy Water Bogs in the distance to the North.  You can find Pigeon Top car park along the South Sperrins Scenic Route at GR H372709. … [Read More...]

Gortin Lakes

Gortin Lakes also offer circular walks and resting places with breathtaking vistas (GR H502847). … [Read More...]

Loughmacrory

Loughmacrory has a lovely circular nature trail that leads you round this picturesque lough.  You can enjoy the sights and sounds of the woodland and bogland on the loughshore and watch out for the special Green Hairstreak butterfly in May.  Car parking and toilet facilities available. (GR H576756). … [Read More...]

Drumduff and Drumnakilly Mountain View Trail

Drumduff and Drumnakilly Community Association,  supported by BBC Breathing Places have enhanced an area of raised bog and birch woodland by providing access, giving the visitor opportunities to see many of the wonderful bog and woodland plants and appreciate the Mountain View of Mullaghcarn on a clear day. … [Read More...]

Boorin Nature Reserve

Located beside Gortin Lakes, here you can see many of the typical bog plants such as sphagnum mosses, hare's tail cotton grass and herbs like the colourful bog asphodel (H495846) … [Read More...]

An Creggan Visitor Centre

Creggan Bog at around 9Ha (22 acres) is a small, undisturbed remnant of a once much larger area of lowland raised bog, over 7,000 years in the making. It hosts a unique colony of plants including heathers, cranberry, crowberry, sphagnum mosses, lichen and several species of insect-eating plants. In Summer the air is alive with dragonflies and damselflies, bees and butterflies.Go to … [Read More...]

Vinegar Hill Loop

This 7 mile walk, part of the Ulster Way, provides a taster of what the Sperrins have to offer, rolling hills, lush green valleys and a snapshot of rural life. Start at Barnes Gap Car Park GR H552905 … [Read More...]

Dromore Riverside Walk

The Dromore Riverside Walk is a meandering path though a delightful environment, open and accessible for all to use and enjoy.  As you walk though this park, you will see new and old woodland changing and growing over the seasons and wildflower meadows blooming in spring and summer.  GR H352634 … [Read More...]

River Strule

A walkway along the River Strule starting from the Strule Arts Centre allows you close access to appreciate the bank side vegetation, salmon leaping and the resident heron at the weir. GR H451728 … [Read More...]

Camowen River

To enjoy the peaceful ambience of the slow and winding Camowen, walk from Cranny Bridge to Lover's Retreat, where you might see the salmon leap.  Parking at Cranny Bridge GR H473721 … [Read More...]

Gortin Glen Forest Park

Gortin Glen Forest Park, north of Omagh town, is an excellent park for people to experience wildlife through walks, orienteering, mountain biking and educational events (check back Omagh update page for Gortin Glen events).  In summer the duck pond is alive with many dragonflies darting from fence to bog pool and a quiet and lucky visitor may catch a glimpse of the resident red squirrels. GR … [Read More...]

Cullion Community Woodland

Woodland Trust in association with Glens Community Development Group developed Cullion Community Woodland, a millennium Wood On Your Doorstep.  It is mixed deciduous woodland that exhibits one specimen of each native tree in Ireland along a winding path that leads you to a rich wildlife pond.  A small parking area is at the entrance point close to Gortin Glen Forest Park (GR H475819). … [Read More...]

Sloughan Glen ASSI

You can visit Sloughan Glen ASSI in the west of the district near Drumquin (GR H276744).  See the carpets of bluebells in the spring and the roaring waterfall all year round. If you're lucky you might see the dippers walking under water.   Car parking is available, note there are steep steps throughout pathways. Please follow the Countryside Code as this is an Area of Special Scientific Interest. … [Read More...]

Hazelbank Park

Hazelbank Park is an excellent park in Newtownabbey as it is situated on the shores of Belfast Lough and offers fantastic views to Belfast, Carrickfergus and County Down. Within the park you will find mature woodland - remnants of the old estate awash with colour from early spring with bluebells, woodland anemone and the pungent smell of wild garlic.  A created wildflower meadow at Hazelbank … [Read More...]

Newtownabbey Way

Newtownabbey Way

The Newtownabbey Way is a walking/cycling path from the shores of Belfast Lough to the centre of Newtownabbey.  The path follows the valley of the Threemilewater and leads the visitor from coastal habitats, through the river corridor habitats, open grassland and mature woodland. … [Read More...]

Burnside River Walk

This delightful river walk is beside Burnside village.  The Doagh River runs alongside the path and there is an abundance of wildlife to be seen. Keep your eyes peeled for kingfishers, otters and dippers who enjoy the good water quality. The variety of native trees, meadow grasses and wildflowers also support a huge number of birds and insects. Unfortunately, this area has recently been home to … [Read More...]

Threemilewater Conservation Park

This is an open country park with the river corridor, meadow and woodland areas.  Considerable new planting took place in co-operation with the Woodland Trust in 2006 to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. Over 3000 trees were planted by 300 local school children to create our "Euryalus Wood" to enhance the biodiversity of the area. Natural paths have been created … [Read More...]

Six Mile Water Park

Sixmilewater Park

The Sixmilewater is actually 30km long rising close to Ballyboley Forest and flowing to Lough Neagh.  There any many different stories about how the Sixmilewater got its name.  One such story is that many years ago, the Roman soldiers, defending their land, walked from their strong hold of Carrickfergus Castle and after six miles of walking they came to this river - which became know as the … [Read More...]

Valley Park

Valley Park

This is a green oasis within the urban area of Newtownabbey which combines walking routes with a variety of habitats including river, woodland, open space and ponds.  Much of the woodland in this area is part of a community planting scheme which took place many years ago. This woodland is now reaching maturity and providing many benefits, for people and wildlife. This is an ideal place to spend … [Read More...]

Monkstown Wood Local Nature Reserve

Monkstown Wood is a Woodland Trust site designated as a Local Nature Reserve by Newtownabbey Borough Council in 2007.  A path following the course of the Threemilewater leads the visitor along the river corridor, through woodlands, open spaces and along mature hedgerows.  The path is well managed and is relatively flat and easily accessible for people of a range of abilities. This site consists … [Read More...]

Carnmoney Hill

Carnmoney Hill Local Nature Reserve

Carnmoney Hill is one of the greatest landmarks within the Borough of Newtownabbey. Carnmoney takes its name from Cairn Monadh 'the cairn on the boggy mountain', a burial chamber that originally stood on the summit of Carnmoney Hill.The publicly accessible section of the hill is owned and managed through a partnership between Newtownabbey Borough Council and the Woodland Trust.  The Woodland Trust … [Read More...]

Camlough Lake

Camlough Lake

Cam Lough (Crooked Lake), the largest lake in the Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a disused reservoir and a premier coarse angling location.  Unpolluted water and low levels of nutrients contribute to the diverse aquatic plant life of the Lough whilst the banks are home to a variety of nesting birds amongst the marsh and scrub cover. Directions: From Newry, drive through … [Read More...]

Kilbroney Forest Park

There are few parklands in existence which could surpass the beauty of Kilbroney Park. Here mountain, stream, sea-lough and valley conjure up a scenic wonderland. The 97 acres which form Kilbroney Park lie close to the shore of Carlingford Lough in the shadow of the forest-clad Slieve Martin. As a backdrop to Kilbroney Park stands the impressive 4,000 acre Rostrevor Forest rising sharply … [Read More...]

Rostrevor Oakwood National Nature Reserve

Rostrevor Oakwood National Nature Reserve is a mature oak woodland covering 41 acres on a steep west-facing slope overlooking Carlingford Lough. Such woodlands are rare in Northern Ireland and at Rostrevor the wood, though natural in form, is possibly the product of regeneration after extensive felling during the late 1730s.
Beneath a closed canopy of mature oaks, other species such as ash, hazel, … [Read More...]

Daisy Hill Wood Local Nature Reserve

Daisy Hill Wood LNR is a green lung, set right in the heart of Newry city and it is open all year round for free public access (the wood is accessed from the Pound Road, Newry). Both hill and woodland are well-known because of their interesting origins: for 100 years the site was a world-renowned plant nursery, Daisy Hill Nursery. The nursery has left its legacy in the form of many exotic trees … [Read More...]

Teal Lough ASSI

Teal Lough probably has the finest hummock and pool complex of any raised bog in Northern Ireland.  The pools support aquatic Sphagnum mosses, along with stands of bogbean and pockets of submerged lesser bladderwort. In the margins, the rare oblong-leaved sundew can be found, along with bog asphodel and white beak-sedge. The surrounding blanket bog is characterised by the greater abundance of … [Read More...]

Ballynahone Bog

At almost 250 Ha, Ballynahone Bog is one of the two largest intact, lowland, active raised bogs in Northern Ireland, and considered to be one of the best examples in the United Kingdom.  Vegetation communities vary from poor fen, through grassland and heath, to extensive areas of scrub and young woodland. Species occurring on the site include a number of scarce species such as bog- rosemary and … [Read More...]

Polepatrick Park

Polepatrick Park is a 9 acre site on the outskirts of Magherafelt.  The network of footpaths provide access for all abilities, through a host of different habitats which support a wide range of flora and fauna ranging from native woodland, wet woodland, open water and ponds; to running water, fenland, mown grassland and ornamental flower beds that can be enjoyed by all.  Throughout the Park there … [Read More...]

Lough Beg

Lough Beg Nature Reserve is one of the finest ornithological sites in the British Isles with 171 recorded species of birds. Along with Lough Neagh, Lough Beg supports internationally important numbers of wintering wildfowl, and is a nationally important breeding location for various bird species. The open water and surrounding wetland habitats around the loughs have a range of designations ( … [Read More...]

Drumlamph Wood

Just outside Maghera, Drumlamph Wood is one of Northern Ireland's rare and precious ancient woods.  Drumlamph Wood has been traced back as far as 1599 and was once part of the extensive oak forest of Killetra in south-east County Londonderry. Look out for historical features such as the rath (or hillfort) to the north of the site, which is indicative of an early Christian settlement.  The … [Read More...]

Killyfole Lough Local Nature Reserve, Rosslea

Killyfole Walking/Shoreline Trail was officially opened in 2007 taking on a new lease of life due to the efforts of the local community association. A loop walk around the lake has been developed including boardwalk sections, allowing you closer glimpses into the lough depths and wildlife. Its a beautiful, peaceful walk taking in open water, reedbeds and small pockets of wet woodland. Killyfole … [Read More...]

Cuilcagh Mountain Park

At 665 metres, Cuilcagh Mountain is the highest point in Cavan and Fermanagh. Its distinctive table-top profile is the dominant landscpae feature in a region rich in geology, archaeology, folklore, history and wildlife. The mountain is topped by gritstone, which is exposed in places as dramatic cliffs looming over the upper sandstone and shale slopes. The middle slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain are … [Read More...]

Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark

In 2008, the UNSECO endorsed Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark of which the Marble Arch Caves are a key site, was expanded to include some of the most scenic landscapes in Counties Fermanagh and Cavan, making it the first cross-border Geopark anywhere in the world.Marble Arch Caves is the flagship attraction of the Geopark and is one of Europe's finest showcaves. Visitors explore a fascinating … [Read More...]

Cottage Lawn, Belcoo

A village green at the far west end of Lower Lough Mcnean, its a perfect spot to stop for a short amble around its edges, taking in the lough shoreline with Cuilcagh Mountain and surrounds as a backdrop. The green itself has some lovely craggy, mature trees and plenty of open space for a picnic. Fermanagh District Council, Tel: 028-66325050 Good access with flat, paved paths. … [Read More...]

Forthill Park, Enniskillen

A lovely city hilltop, Victorian park just off the town centre complete with historic monument, said to inspire Oscar Wilde's 'The Happy Prince'. The park functioned as an arboretum in the past and there are still many fine examples of mature, exotic trees to be seen. Fermanagh District Council, Tel: 66325050 Steep paths due to its hilltop location, so access is limited. … [Read More...]

Slieve Beagh ASSI

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Ballysaggart Lough

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Round Lough ASSI

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Peatlands Park ASSI

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Washing Bay LNR

Washing Bay LNR is a 4 hectare site situated on the shoreline in the south west corner of Lough Neagh. It lies within an important wetland containing nationally important number of breeding birds and internationally important numbers of wildfowl in winter. It has a number of designations including: Special Protection Area (SPA); Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI); and it is listed as a … [Read More...]

Dungannon Park

Dungannon Park comprises open parkland, mature woodland (predominantly beech), and Dungannon lake.  The network of paths around the site enable public access to most areas. … [Read More...]

Favour Royal Forest

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Parkanaur Forest Park

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Windmill Wood

Windmill Wood is a mature woodland towards the outskirts of Dungannon town.  The public car parks and network of paths provide easy access to and through the site. … [Read More...]

Creggan Country Park

Creggan Country Park is a recreation, education and training facility, characterised by three reservoirs, which are surrounded by mixed woodland, hedgerows and species rich wet grassland that supports a range of visiting birds, otter, foxes, hedgehogs, rabbits and bats. … [Read More...]

Lough’s Agency, Riverwatch Centre

Riverwatch is a great tourist attraction, located opposite the Everglades Hotel, with FREE admission.  Visitors can see and learn all about local wildlife and there are free activity packs to keep the kids entertained. … [Read More...]

Bay Road Park

Bay Road Park, a Derry City flagship park is valuable to the people and visitors of Derry as an open space and for the wildlife found there. The location of the park on the banks of the River Foyle gives it an impressive presence as well as providing a variety of habitats including mudflats, coastal saltmarsh, lowland wood, lowland meadows and wet woodland. The park is valuable for a wide range … [Read More...]

Prehen Wood

This Woodland Trust site is situated off the A5 Victoria Road, opposite the Everglades Hotel. It is a semi-natural ancient woodland, dominated by beech trees with a hazel, holly and oak under-storey. The woodland ground flora consists of bluebells, lesser celandines and wood anemones. This site is also a habitat for the red squirrel, sparrowhawk, badger and long-eared owl. It was declared a Local … [Read More...]

Claudy Country Park

A mature woodland park with walks along the River Faughan. This site has a biodiversity trail, highlighting key habitats and species recorded on site. … [Read More...]

Brooke Park

A beautiful, historic park with open spaces and very old parkland trees inside old walls. … [Read More...]

St Columb’s Park

A diverse historic parkland with mature woodland and sports amenities, which is connected with the city centre by the Peace Bridge. This site supports red squirrles and bats. … [Read More...]

Craigavon Lakes Local Nature Reserve

Craigavon Lakes were created during the early 1970's when an area of low lying, poorly drained land was excavated to create the two lakes which we see today. The South Lake was designed to act as a balancing lake, releasing rainwater collected from the built up areas of Craigavon at a controlled rate into streams which flow into Lough Neagh. The Lakes were also intended to provide recreational … [Read More...]

Lurgan Park

Lurgan Park is Northern Ireland's largest and most beautiful urban park, the second largest town park in Ireland. It is enjoyed by as many as 2000 people every day. The beautifully landscaped parkland contains a number of well maintained paths which provide excellent walking and running ground. The park itself contains the Coalbrookdale Fountain, this cast-iron fountain was originally erected … [Read More...]

Slantry Wood Local Nature Reserve

Slantry Wood Local Nature ReserveThe land within Slantry Wood Local Nature Reserve was used for agricultural purposes until the 1960's when it came into public ownership. In the late 1960's the woodland areas were planted, while the meadow areas remained in agricultural use. Following a campaign by local residents the area was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 2008. Today Slantry Wood … [Read More...]

Oxford Island National Nature Reserve

Oxford Island National Nature Reserve is a peninsula created by the successive lowering of Lough Neagh. Bounded on three sides by water it is a haven for wildlife and a popular visitor attraction on the southern shores of Lough Neagh. It is home to a vast range of birds, plants and animals throughout the year. Large numbers of wintering wildfowl can be viewed from the five bird hides that are … [Read More...]

Ballyronan Marina & Wood

The picturesque boating and tourist facility incorporates a picnic area, playpark and beach area.  To compliment these facilities there is also a special Woodland Nature Trail 'Ballyronan Wood' with a variety of pathways, viewpoints and information signage, highlighting the natural beauty of the area. … [Read More...]

Lough Fea

Set in wild mountain scenery, Lough Fea is one of many delightful lakes dotted throughout the Sperrins region.  Covering 180 acres this natural beauty spot is an anglers dream and also supplies the entire area and beyond with fresh water.  The 4.15km (approx 1 hour) walkway around Lough Fea is a haven for local walkers and tourists alike.  A mix of panoramic scenery and calming waters make this an … [Read More...]

Drumcairne Forest

About 1 mile to the west of Stewartstown, Drumcairne Forest has a variety of conifer and broadleaved species.  The public are welcome to visit this site, there being a way-marked walking trail. NI Forest Service … [Read More...]

Davagh Forest

Ten miles north-west of Cookstown this 1,500 hectare forest is largely an upland coniferous forest set in the foothills of the Sperrins.  While there are no formal trails in Davagh walkers may use the forest road for leisurely walks. NI Forest Service … [Read More...]

Drum Manor Forest Park

Drum Manor Forest Park is colourful all year round with shrub, butterfly and Japanese gardens, arboretum, ponds and mixed woodlands.  Way-marked trails of varying length commence at the car park and form a circular route.  A gentle trail has been adapted for the less able bodied visitor in mind. NI Forest Service … [Read More...]

Cabin Wood

Cabin Wood, just outside Cookstown, is bordered by the Ballinderry and Killymoon Rivers.  Although still in its infancy, Cabin Wood glows with beauty, peace and tranquillity. The land has been planted with a mix of native trees; including alder, ash, birch, Scots pine, oak and willow. Springtime visitors will see bluebell, wood anemone, wild garlic and lesser celandine which grow along the … [Read More...]

Bashfordsland Wood & Oakfield Glen

Bashfordsland Wood and Oakfield Glen  sit side-by-side on the western edge of Carrickfergus, approximately 1 ½ miles from the historic town centre, and offer a leisurely stroll in the most tranquil of settings, lasting up to one hour. The walk is mostly moderate, but with some gentle inclines. There is over 4km of pathways running through both sites.   The site is the remnants of where … [Read More...]

Beach Road Nature Reserve

Beach Road Nature Reserve is located in the seaside town of Whitehead and is owned and managed by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. In 2008 the local community group 'Brighter Whitehead' received a grant from Better Belfast to make substantial environmental improvements to the reserve.   The reserve is set in an old disused quarry. The headland at theold quarry is know as White Head and it was … [Read More...]

Cranfield Bay, Randalstown/ Toomebridge

Cranfield Bay is on the shores of Lough Neagh, this give you an opportunity to watch out for some of the wetland bird species that depend on the Lough - the gracious Great Crested Grebe, Common Tern fishing in the summer and many wildfowl using the area in winter such as Pochard and Tufted Duck. Cranfield is a very small grassland area around the site of Cranfield Church, a 13th Century ruined … [Read More...]

Lough Neagh

Did you know? Lough Neagh has the largest concentration of Great Crested Grebe in Ireland. Around 150 pairs of Common Tern come from Africa each year to breed on Lough Neagh. Nearly 70 pairs of Common Tern nest on an old torpedo platform in Antrim Bay. Whooper Swans fly from their breeding grounds in Iceland to south Lough Beg, around the Toome and Ballnamullan area each winter. Lough … [Read More...]

Tardree Forest, near Antrim

Tardree Forest is a mixed conifer forest with panoramic views over the County Antrim countryside and Lough Neagh. At the top of Tardree Hill there is a Geological Nature Reserve where you can find rhyolite, an igneous rock resulting from volcanic activity 60 million years ago. There are well marked forest paths and a picnic area. Although now forested, Tardree derives its name from the Irish … [Read More...]

Rea’s Wood

Rea's Wood stretches for nearly one mile along the shores of Lough Neagh, heading south from Antrim town. Access is from Lough Shore Park in Antrim. Rea's Wood is a fine example of wet woodland being dominated by Alder, Willow and Birch trees and it is designated as a National Nature Reserve. The woodland floor provides ideal habitat not only for many plants but also for many rare invertebrates … [Read More...]

Randalstown Forest and Farr’s Bay

Randalstown Forest and Farr's Bay are two small adjacent Nature Reserves on the north shore of Lough Neagh to the west of Randalstown. The Forest covers 430 acres and contains large broadleaved trees including Oaks as well as conifer plantation. The shoreline here is part of a much larger wildfowl refuge that extends from the Six Mile Water River in the east to Blackrock Bay in the west. The … [Read More...]

Rams’s Island

Ram's Island is a picturesque uninhabited island in Lough Neagh.  It is about 2 miles south-east of Gartree Point. The island has increased in size due to several lowerings of the lough level and is now the largest island in Lough Neagh. The Island is presently leased to the Lower Bann and Lough Neagh Association (LBANA) who are actively managing the island for biodiversity. The island is special … [Read More...]

Mill Race Trail, Antrim

The Six Mile Water is in fact 30 km long and rises on the slopes of Shane's Hill near Larne. The name is thought to have come from a crossing point over the river that was six Irish miles from Antrim. A scenic river corridor that can be accessed from Riverside in Antrim, Kirby's Lane or Muckamore. A pathway runs beside the river to Muckamore, giving you an opportunity to enjoy and experience a … [Read More...]

Lough Shore Park, Antrim

Lough Shore Park in Antrim is a good access point to Lough Neagh, the largest freshwater lake in the British Isles. The area around the Lough is one of the most important bird habitats in Western Europe and it provides a home for thousands of wildfowl as well as a large-scale eel fishing industry. This pleasant open park includes a pretty riverside walk to Antrim Castle Gardens. Common Tern … [Read More...]

Linear Park/ Canal walk, Toomebridge

Toome Linear Park is a 2km long walk to the shores of Lough Neagh. The Lower Bann is the only river to drain out of Lough Neagh here at Toome, where it makes its way to the Altantic near Castlerock. The Lower Bann is the river that the Eel enters Lough Neagh after travelling on the Gulf Stream across the Atlantic. The Eel stays in Lough Neagh for about eight years and changes from brown to … [Read More...]

Crumlin Glen

Crumlin Glen consists of mixed broad-leaved woodland with an attractive riverside walk leading to a waterfall and Cockle House. This site has a spectacular glen setting with waterfalls and steep, thickly wooded slopes. Look out for local river species of interest: Dipper, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail. Managed by Rivers Agency (028 9260 6100) All year round, anytime … [Read More...]

Castle Gardens, Antrim

A garden layout of wildnerness woodland, ponds, canals, avenues and vistas. The Six Mile Water runs alongside the edge of the garden, watch out for a Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Dipper making their way along the river corridor, you may even see an Otter. The buildings at Clotworthy Arts Centre have a special resident known as Nathusius' Pipistrelle. It is one of the rarest bat species in Northern … [Read More...]

CAFRE Trail, Greenmount Campus

Find out about important issues affecting agriculture and the environment, for example: biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, habitat management, endangered species, water quality and waste management. CAFRE have teamed up with RSPB to encourage a greater understanding of the role farmers' play in caring for their environment. Primary and Secondary school programmes are available. For further … [Read More...]

Belfast Hills

These hills are made up in part from lava, now hardened into the rock basalt, that erupted here 60 million years ago. The upland habitat is a mosaic of grassland, upland heath and bog and home to many species of wildlife. The site is significant to biodiversity with Red Grouse, Skylark, Snipe and other upland breeding birds, Irish hare are often seen, thirteen species of Waxcap fungi have been … [Read More...]

Slieve Gullion

Slieve Gullion Forest Park

Slieve Gullion Forest Park is a predominantly conifer woodland, located on the side of a steeply rising mountain within the ‘Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. The Forest Park covers an area of 2500 acres. A 10km drive around the mountain offers the visitors spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. For the walker there is a route that leads to the top of Slieve Gullion … [Read More...]