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 Ashe, welcomed attendees and thanked them for supporting this important initiative.

“Carrickfergus Mill Ponds is three hectares of land which is an urban oasis for wildlife,” he said.

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,” he added.

mill ponds lnr launch

Carrickfergus Mill Ponds are classed as a Local Nature Reserve: that is a protected area of land designated by a local authority to conserve its environmental and recreational value, with the primary land use being for conservation.

This development is part of ongoing work within the Mid and East Antrim Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) which was officially launched in December 2014.

It has three objectives: to help conserve habitats and species, to raise awareness of local biodiversity and to involve people in biodiversity projects and develop partnerships.

“Carrickfergus Mill Ponds Local Nature Reserve is for both people and wildlife. This site demonstrates Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s commitment to conserving and enhancing biodiversity throughout the District and our commitment to protecting urban green space for the community,” said Cllr Ashe.

“The activities taking place today and the amount of children involved, demonstrate just how important and valued the site is for environmental education and enjoyment.”

Councillor Billy Ashe also took the opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the development of Carrickfergus Mill Ponds Local Nature Reserve, namely, Mid and East Antrim Council staff, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) Biodiversity Unit and the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside (CNCC), and invited guests to take a stroll around Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s newest Local Nature Reserve.