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ANBCouncil has its say on plans for new 250 acre woodland in Belfast Hills

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has shared its views on plans for a new 250 acre site in the Belfast Hills which is to be transformed into a new woodland.

A short distance from Mallusk, the site, which borders Cave Hill, has been acquired by the Woodland Trust who plan to restore the site and open it up to the public for free once works are complete.

The Council recently responded to a community consultation, expressing its desire to see trails of various abilities installed throughout the site, along with information signage and a programme of educational activities within the woodland.

More than 150,000 native trees are to be planted on the site, with 80 acres to remain as grassland to support key species that will attract bees and other insects. With Northern Ireland currently having the lowest tree cover within Europe at just 8%, it is hoped this native planting will go some way to improving the situation and reducing carbon emissions.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb said:

“It was great to be able to share our views on this exciting new project, which will be a vital piece of the jigsaw linking the current Woodland Trust sites in the Borough at Carnmoney Hill and Monkstown Wood. We have seen just how important our outdoor spaces have been to people over the last year and our response to the consultation highlighted the need to include features such as walking trails of various abilities, viewpoints and seating areas.”

The Mayor continued:

“As a Council we are committed to protecting and enhancing our biodiversity and so it’s great to see the plans for this site will provide habitats for our wildlife. As part of the consultation we also highlighted the importance of educating visitors to the site by installing information panels to help raise awareness of the key biodiversity features and the need to protect them.”

The Woodland Trust plan to develop the nature reserve over the next five years with hopes to open up the woodland to the public towards the end of 2021.


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