Carnmoney Hill Local Nature Reserve

Carnmoney Hill

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 has carried out a lot of work on the site in the last 5 years including pond creation, tree planting and creation of new paths.

This work paid off in 2006 when it was designated, by Newtownabbey Borough Council, as a Local Nature Reserve.  This gives Carnmoney Hill the protection it needs to ensure this area is managed for biodiversity and people.  A walk to the summit of Carnmoney Hill will introduce you to a range of habitats including ponds, ancient woodland, new planting and open meadows.

Views from the summit include Belfast Lough, Cavehill and even the Mournes on a good day.  Pay attention as you journey to the summit and you will experience a wide variety of wildlife.  Coots and moorhens can be spotted on the lower pond at Rathfern and as you travel through the lower slopes listen out for the mechanical sounding song of the grasshopper warbler.  You may be lucky to see the five-spot burnet moth, a day flying moth with dramatic red spots on its dark wings.

Spring is the time to see the bluebells, wood anemone and wild garlic carpeting the floors of the woodland areas.  The wide range of habitats also provides important habitats for bats which can be seen on dark, summer nights searching for food.  The freshwater ponds further up the hill attract dragonflies, damselflies, newts and frogs.

Carnmoney Hill LNR is a wildlife haven located in the centre of urban Newtownabbey providing local people and visitors with an opportunity to get away from it all and get in touch with their local wildlife!  The wide range of wildlife and habitats gives people a real experience of our natural world, all within the urban centre of Newtownabbey.

The main entrance to Carnmoney Hill is at Rathfern Community Centre.  This entrance to the hill has been landscaped to allow those not able to tackle the short, steep climb to the summit to take shorter walks around the ponds near the base of the hill.