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 the site forming an important wildlife corridor, linking the coast with Oakfield Glen, Bashfordsland Wood and the countryside beyond.

The site is currently managed as a wildfowl refuge. The ponds are fringed with wetland vegetation and support a wide variety of bird life, including common species of ducks and mute swans, greylag geese, oystercatcher, snipe, kingfisher, swallows and many more woodland and garden birds. The ponds contain a number of invertebrate species including the notable lake orb mussel, which is rare and red-listed as Vulnerable.

The surfaced paths are ideal for all users. The site is popular with casual users, walkers, naturalists and school groups for education and outdoor recreation. The site is also well used for fitness purposes and includes an outdoor gym. Paths link the Mill Ponds to Shaftesbury Park, an attractive Victorian Park with mature tree species.

In March 2015 the site was declared a Local Nature Reserve (LNR), under Article 22 of the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.