20/04/2021

Woodland Trust Acquires New Land In The Belfast Hills

The Woodland Trust In NI has acquired new land in the Belfast Hills.

Biffa Award allocated the funding as part of the Landfill Communities Fund, and NIEA, the UK's largest woodland conservation charity has taken ownership of 98 hectares next to Cave Hill Country Park, with plans to conserve and restore the site. The charity plans to open the woodland to the public for free, once works are completed on site.

Northern Ireland currently has the lowest tree cover within Europe, with just 8% cover, of which 4% are native trees and 0.04% is ancient woodland. The Woodland Trust aims to create new native woodland for wildlife, people and the climate. Biffa Award is a multi-million-pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives by awarding grants to communities and environmental projects across the UK.

The new site in Belfast Hills will benefit people, wildlife and the climate.
News Image
Ian McCurley, Director of Woodland Trust Northern Ireland, said: "We want to thank Biffa Award who have donated £550,000 and NIEA who have funded £50,000 allowing the Woodland Trust to purchase the land in Belfast Hills. This is an incredible investment, and we are excited about the opportunity to create a new native woodland within a short drive of the population of greater Belfast, Newtownabbey and South Antrim.

"To be able to create woodlands on this scale means more for nature, more for climate change and more for people. We need to rapidly increase tree cover to help reach net zero carbon emissions and tackle the declines in wildlife. We want to conserve the land in the Belfast Hills and restore it to a beautiful habitat for people and nature."

The new site 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 local community in North Belfast, Newtownabbey, South Antrim and the greater Belfast area.

Image Credit: Whitenoise Studios

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