Public meeting to rally support for Throne Wood

The entrance to Throne Wood can be found at the 'Tree Tops' bus stop on the Antrim Road, opposite the entrance to Belfast Zoo. INNT 08-403-RM
The entrance to Throne Wood can be found at the 'Tree Tops' bus stop on the Antrim Road, opposite the entrance to Belfast Zoo. INNT 08-403-RM

A PUBLIC meeting is set to take place on Wednesday, February 29 in Hazelwood Integrated Primary and Nursery School to rally local support for Throne Wood.

Organised by Groundwork Northern Ireland as part of @myurbangreen - a new campaign launched by M&S and the environmental charity - the meeting’s aim is to enlist local volunteers to help maintain the native woodland area.

Throne Woodland is a key feature on the lower slopes of the Belfast Hills just below Cave Hill, in the area between the Antrim Road and the Shore Road.

The wood, probably planted in the early 1800s, belonged to a house marked on the 1830 Ordnance Survey map as ‘The Throne’. The renowned poet Sir Samuel Ferguson lived there for a time in the 1820s, but unfortunately only faint traces of the house remain today. Walkers will come across the vestiges of an old wall, the occasional appearance of garden plants such as fuchsia, and the remains of what may have been a large pond. The area covered is 5.47 hectares (13.52 acres)

The Woodland Trust, the current owners of Throne Wood, have recently carried out environmental improvement projects in the area, including upgrading the path network and tree planting in the wood. The Trust adopted the woodland under their Community Woods Programme.

Madeleine Kelly Project Development Officer with Groundwork explained: “Throne Wood has its share of stunning native woodland and is an asset to North Belfast. However, woodlands are living entities and need to be carefully maintained and managed. Throne Wood needs the support of local residents to guarantee its survival which is why we need to set up a volunteer group to take ownership of the woodland and ensure its upkeep.

“Over the coming months there will be opportunities for local people to learn about woodland management, to identify trees and wildflowers and do some of the practical work that is essential to the preservation of Throne Wood for future generations to enjoy.”

The new support group, ‘Friends of Throne Woods’, will be supported by @myurbangreen, a campaign which aims to reconnect urban communities with their environment by being actively involved in shaping the future development, maintenance and management of their ‘Greener Living Spaces’, created by M&S and Groundwork over the past three years.

Future plans for Throne Wood include tree and wildflower planting to improve biodiversity and the removal of invasive species that hinder natural regeneration of the trees. Children from local schools are already visiting the woodland on a regular basis to take part in a Forest Schools programme.

Wendy Loughridge, Store Manager at the M&S Abbeycentre said: “@myurbangreen is a new and exciting programme that will create a dynamic legacy in communities for the ‘Greener Living Spaces’ we have created with Groundwork.

“The project at Throne Wood is a brilliant opportunity for the people of North Belfast to take ownership of the woodland and ensure it is fit for everyone to enjoy.”

All are welcome to attend the public meeting which begins at 7pm on Wednesday, February 29, at Hazelwood Primary and Nursery School, 242 Whitewell Road.