Woodland Trust fears scrambler damage to Carnmoney wildlife haven

The Woodland Trust cares for this much-loved location. Photo by Press Eye.
The Woodland Trust cares for this much-loved location. Photo by Press Eye.

Enjoyment of one of Newtownabbey’s finest natural landmarks is being marred by scrambler bikes, the Woodland Trust has warned.

As well as a fantastic resource for people, Carnmoney Hill is a haven for precious wild inhabitants, from bats to buzzards.

The view from Carnmoney Hill. Photo by Press Eye

The view from Carnmoney Hill. Photo by Press Eye

Through a partnership with Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, the Woodland Trust cares for 82 hectares (203 acres) of land on this section of the Belfast Hills.

And the partners are voicing their concerns over damage to the woodland habitat as well as the risk to the riders themselves and potential harm to others.

A Woodland Trust spokesperson said: “Carnmoney Hill is truly special, with both natural and built heritage offering a glimpse of days gone by. Ancient hedgerows, mostly hawthorn and hazel, form quiet passageways. And in springtime they are lined with wildflowers including bluebells and primroses.

“We don’t want the actions of just a few to cause harm – whether damage to the woodland floor or distress to the many people who absolutely love walking here.”

The conservation charity is appealing to residents and visitors to report sightings of scramblers on the hill immediately to the PSNI by calling 101.

This site was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 2006, in recognition of its importance to both people and wildlife. With support, the Trust adds, Carnmoney Hill can return to its much-loved status.