Walk on the wild side, at Newtownabbey’s Carnmoney Hill

Swathes of glorious wildflowers are lifting their pretty heads to greet visitors to the Woodland Trust’s Carnmoney Hill in Newtownabbey.

The vibrant beauties, which include ox-eye daisy, poppy and cornflower, line the hill’s entrance at Dunanney, just off the O’Neill Road.

According to the conservation charity, the latest additions will brighten the summer landscape, as well as minds, while attracting precious pollinators.

The lively welcome forms part of a wider transformation.  Thanks to funding of almost £50,000 from the Alpha Programme, the facelift includes a small car parking area and improved pathways, while new quaint stone walls are very much in keeping with the hill’s traditional tumbled walls.

Photo 1 Carnmoney Hill wildflowers, with stone wall.  Photo by Rosie Irwin.

Step further up and into this ancient green monument for a flavour of days gone by.  The Belfast Hills Partnership – through its Heritage Lottery-funded Landscape Partnership scheme – has invested over £60,000 here, with works including the excavation of a Victorian farmstead and limekiln.

Rosie Irwin is the Woodland Trust’s site manager and says: “Carnmoney Hill is the most fantastic resource, brimming with natural and built heritage.  And we really hope that everyone – local people and those from further afield – will take time to visit this summer.  The wildflowers, which help to mark the entrance, are the most heartening sight and, on a good day, seem to lift their heads in celebration of the sun.

“We’ve also introduced a new orienteering trail, designed to encourage and help walkers to navigate their way around the hill.   Do it at your own speed and in your own time; you’ll be rewarded with some wonderful sights, from wildflower meadows to breath-taking views over Belfast Lough and the surrounding countryside.”

Councillor John Scott, the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, added: “The wildflowers are a striking landmark, leading walkers to some previously hidden gems, not least the Victorian farmhouse.   This is a wonderful green oasis in an urban setting, and we hope that families will make a point of visiting.  It’s the perfect setting and incentive for young people to get to grips with nature, and to hopefully grow up with a real appreciation and willingness to act on its behalf.”

Find out more about Carnmoney Hill and download the free orienteering instruction sheet and map at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/carnmoney

Guided Walks Poster 2016 autumn