Names sought for new Woodland Trust site in Belfast Hills

The Woodland Trust Northern Ireland is asking the public to name its new woodland in the Belfast Hills.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 1:12 pm

Set next to Cave Hill Country Park. the 98 hectare site will be developed over the next five years with open treed areas, hedgerows, upland wet heath and species rich grassland; the first of over 150,000 native trees will be planted later this year with hopes to open up the new woodland to the public for free as soon as the end of 2021.

The new site in the Belfast Hills was purchased thanks to funding from Biffa Award, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund, NIEA and private donations.

As this new woodland is a blank canvas, the Woodland Trust wants to encourage local residents to get involved and help them develop a destination that is fit for the purpose of its visitors - to do this the charity is coordinating a community consultation.

The new Woodland Trust site is located next to the Cave Hill Country Park. Picture credit: Whitenoise Studios..

The consultation seeks input on types of events the public would like to get involved in, volunteering opportunities, access points and pathways, and even help to choose the name for the site. Details of this community consultation are available at www.woodlandtru.st/zIKcw

Gregor Fulton, Senior Outreach Manager for the Woodland Trust Northern Ireland said: “As part of our plans to launch our new site in the Belfast Hills we are running a community consultation. We really want the local community to get involved in their new woodland and we value the ideas and comments from our new neighbours and from everyone who wants to visit our new site.”

To get the conversation started, the Woodland Trust has already pre-selected a choice of names reflecting the geography, history and location of the new woodland including Bellevue Wood, Collinwood, Glas-na-bradan and Hazel Hill. Members of the public are invited to vote on their favourite, or submit a wild card choice of their own.

The new site is in Collinward and borders Cave Hill Country Park, which attracts over 270,000 visitors every year from Belfast and the surrounding areas and will link existing pathways through Divis and the Belfast Hills.

It will also be a vital piece of the jigsaw linking current Woodland Trust sites at Carnmoney Hill, Monkstown Wood and Throne Wood, providing free outdoor spaces for the community in north Belfast, Newtownabbey, south Antrim and the greater Belfast area.

Northern Ireland currently has the lowest tree cover within Europe, with just 8 per cent cover; of which 4 per cent are native trees and 0.04 per cent ancient woodland.

The Woodland Trust aims to create new native woodland for wildlife, people and the climate. With the addition of the new site in the Belfast Hills, the Woodland Trust has created woodland in Northern Ireland on a landscape scale for a second consecutive year.

The consultation will run from June 21 to July 16.

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