September 24, 2008

Trust Unveils Belfast Walking Trail Plan


AN ambitious new walking trail will allow people to tramp 10km from a south Belfast park to the very summit of Divis mountain - barely setting foot on a road on the way.

The planned trail will link Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park to the upland heaths of the Belfast Hills, which are home to the Irish hare and Peregrine falcon.

The National Trust, which is leading efforts to set up the route, is hoping to launch it by summer next year.

The group will be building a bridge to take the route across Upper Colin Glen in west Belfast and will also be installing waymarkers and information panels.

Access officer Jill Montgomery said: "One of the elements that is important to us is that it will be providing access for over 30 housing areas that run right the way along the 10km route.

"We are not just about providing access to green spaces within our own boundaries - we're about linking up existing green spaces.

"The trail takes people from the summit of Divis Mountain to the summit of Black Mountain, across the road into Glenside Community Woodland, down into upper Colin Glen and through lower Colin Glen, through Dunmurry village, then Jubilee Park and Fullerton Park and back to Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park. Only a very tiny stretch of this is on road.

"Whether you're walking a short section as part of a Health Promotion Walking Group or you're taking in the full route as part of a rambling challenge, it's suitable for both.

"The beauty of the trail is that it passes through so many communities of wildlife - Divis and Black Mountain are upland heath and you go right the way down through a wooded glen, then you're passing though parkland.

"In one walk you are getting a full experience of different terrain. Upland heath is something very special for people who are mostly used to urban environments."

The project is one of the beneficiaries of more than Pounds 210,000 funding for environmental projects in the greater Lisburn and Belfast area announced by Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Tom Hartley at Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park this week.

The funding comes from the Alpha Programme which distributes landfill tax credits from the Mullaghglass landfill site outside Lisburn.

The RSPB also received funding for its biodiversity project at Belfast Harbour Reserve which aims to establish the reserve as a centre for lapwing recovery in the wetlands of Belfast Lough.


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