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Monkstown Wood to show off new look with Easter event

07 March 2018

Back row left to right: George Peel, Biffa Award; Ruth Wilson, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council; John Webster and Andrew Moore, Three Mile Water Conservation & Angling Association.

Front row left to right: Tia Rea, Hollybank Primary School; Councillor Paul Hamill, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey; Kathryn Williamson, Woodland Trust; Carter Hawthorne, Hollybank Primary School

 

Families are invited to put a spring in their step at the Woodland Trust’s Monkstown Wood, in the historic village of Monkstown, Newtownabbey.

Saturday 24 March, from 12pm to 4pm, is the date for the outdoor diary.

The Woodland Trust team will point you in the right direction.  Then search for the hidden clues to complete a self-guided trail through this flourishing Local Nature Reserve.  Young nature detectives, having completed the woodland adventure, will each be rewarded with a tasty Easter treat.

This urban woodland can’t wait to show off its new look, made possible thanks to funding of £65,000 – that’s almost £45,000 from Biffa Award1 and £20,000 from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

The facelift includes improved access, new and improved paths, way-markers, benches and interpretation boards.

The new pathways beckon walkers to step closer to nature.  One route provides access to an adjacent council-owned wildflower meadow, while another offers a closer look at the neighbouring river, the glorious Three Mile Water.

Michelle McCaughtry is the Woodland Trust’s people engagement officer and said: “This will be a fantastic day out for families in the run-up to Easter.  It’s a chance for children to get outdoors and to get to grips with nature, and a breath of fresh air for the adults, too.

“We’ve come up with a really fun and informative woodland trail.  And with a chocolate prize at the end of the adventure, I imagine there’ll be lots of happy faces.

“Thanks to funding, we’ve been able to give Monkstown Wood the boost it deserves and it’s now ready and waiting to be explored by everyone, local people and visitors from further afield.” 

Gillian French, Biffa Award Head of Grants, added: “We are thrilled to see the difference the funding has made and how the wood has been made more accessible. Bringing people closer to nature is vital and we hope that the regeneration of this area will make a big difference to the community using it.”

Children from the nearby Hollybank Primary School were among the first to inspect the improvements, while making their own contribution.  The youngsters recently rolled up sleeves to plant over 150 trees – a mix of alder, hazel and birch.

Booking in advance is essential.  Find out more and book a slot at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/events or call 0330 333 5302.  The cost is £3 per child. Monkstown Wood can be accessed via Monkstown Road, just off the Doagh Road, Newtownabbey.

 

Did you know?

  • From the early 1800s to the 1930s, there was a succession of five different mills/factories on a site by the Three Mile Water, not far from today’s Monkstown Wood.  The first was a Corn Mill.  With various closures and conversions over the years, the Corn Mill ultimately became Monkstown Weaving Company. 
  • The townland of Monkstown was previously called Ballynamanagh from the Irish Baile na Manach meaning townland of the monks2.

Today’s flourishing young woodland started out as several large fields, owned by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.  The Housing Executive made the land available to the Woodland Trust almost 20 years ago by way of a 999 year lease.