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. Many of the original features remain, including the walled garden, the ice house and the lime kilns.

Carnfunnock Country Park is a typical example of woodland associated with former demesnes with much of the planting carried out in the nineteenth century. Within the 191 hectares of woodland at Carnfunnock there is a mixture of native and non-native species reflecting this former planting on the estate. There are a number of mature trees within the wooded areas including beech, ash and sycamore as well as pines, lime and larch trees. The ground flora within the woodlands is generally poor with a number of areas dominated by rhododendron and laurel, however, work is underway to improve these areas. There are also newly planted woodland areas consisting of a number of tree and shrub species.

Carnfunnock Beech Walk

The grassland of Carnfunnock is mainly improved pasture with moderate biodiversity value apart from the hedgerows which support a variety of flora and fauna. Marshy grassland has developed in the more low lying areas of the estate.

The mosaic of habitats including woodland and grasslands extending to the shore provide good foraging habitat for a number of mammals including otter, squirrels, foxes and rabbits. Bats have also been regularly recorded foraging within the park.

The coastal area at the foot of the park mainly consists of basalt boulders with a patchy fucoid flora supporting a typical range of sublittoral wildlife.

A number of initiatives are underway within Carnfunnock to improve the biodiversity of the area including native tree planting, control of invasive species and encouraging red squirrels back into the park.