Diamond Jubilee Wood

Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead was created in 2012 as a living, lasting legacy Jubilee-Wood-26-June-13to commemorate the 2012 Diamond Jubilee, marking Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year as monarch. The 60 acre woodland near Bentra Golf Course to the north of Whitehead was officially opened on Saturday 23rd June 2012 by Mrs. Joan Christie OBE, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim. Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead is one of the ‘flagship woods’ and the only Diamond Jubilee Wood in Northern Ireland. In total 60 Diamond Jubilee Woods have been planted throughout the UK. Each wood is at least 60 acres in size to symbolise 60 years of The Queen’s reign.

More than 1,000 children and adults helped transform the open field into beautiful new woodland which now contains 60,000 trees including a fruit tree orchard, 2km of path network, a 1000sqm pond, wildflower meadows, outdoor gym equipment, picnic area and a sculpture designed by artist Kevin Killen and local school children.  There is great bird life on site including  reports of a nesting pair of buzzards. Swifts and swallows are summer visitors to the site.

The Biodiversity Summer School has been held on site each summer since 2012 and is very popular. The Biodiversity Summer school gives families the chance to learn about the natural world through a range of fun activities.

The site has a rich wartime history.  From 1915 to 1917, Whitehead was home to the first military aviation facility in Ireland – one that played an important role in the First World War. Royal Naval Air Service airships based at Bentra patrolled the waters between Ireland and Scotland, combating the German U-Boat menace. The airships operated from an airship station at Bentra, which had an airship shed comprising a steel frame covered by canvas and measuring 150 feet long by 45 feet wide and 50 feet high. Wooden huts provided accommodation for the pilots and engineers. At least four airships operated from the station at Bentra.