Friday, 23 November 2012

Launch of Tree Week in Carrickfergus Borough

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee launched National Tree Week in Carrickfergus Borough at Whitehead Primary School on Friday 23rd November 2012. The launch will highlight the TREEmendous achievements since the year 2000, in which Carrickfergus Borough Council has planted 160,000 trees and by the end of this tree planting season we will have planted a further 5,000 trees around the Borough.

Alderman Beattie said “Now more than ever has confirmed the need to plant more trees. Recent events have confirmed that the view across the countryside and in our towns is set to change faster than anyone could have expected. In recent years, pests and diseases have started to threaten some of our most loved trees, such as oak and horse chestnut, but the spread of ash dieback and the anticipated devastation of the UK population of ash trees has left everyone considering what the next steps should be.”

“Planting a tree is a very positive thing to do and is great fun, even in the depths of winter. There are plenty of reasons to get planting – it's great exercise, children love it, and you'll be making a valuable contribution to our community woodland. To take part in a tree planting event or for further information contact: Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer at Carrickfergus Borough Council. t: 93358039 or e:”. ended Alderman Beattie

“Anyone with land of their own, whether a garden, woodland or field, can make a difference to their view by adding a tree”, said Pauline Buchanan Black, Director-General of The Tree Council. “This year, though, the campaign carries particular significance as we look for ways to minimise the impact of ash dieback and carefully consider what to plant. Rising concern about tree diseases has also reminded us of the importance of checking not only where the seed of their tree started life, but also where it was germinated and grown. Not since Plant A Tree in ’73 has there been the same urgency to safeguard a view for the future”.

Alasdair Douglas, Chair of The Tree Council, added “It is almost exactly 40 years since Secretary of State for the Environment Peter Walker stood up in the House of Commons and announced that the following year was to be designated National Tree Planting Year. This was the Government initiative to encourage the planting of new trees to replace those millions killed by Dutch Elm Disease. The Tree Council was formed from that initiative and has been running National Tree Week ever since. We couldn’t have foreseen that we’d be faced with the losses from a tree disease of similar epidemic proportions just as we go in to National Tree Week but this seems a timely moment to ask the public to think carefully about what will happen to their view and what they will do to restore it for future generations.”

Next Tree planting event: Tree Planting Day at Amphitheatre Mill Ponds on Thursday 29th November at 10am. For further information please visit

For further information on this or future tree planting events please contact Stephen Daye on 9335 8000. More tree planting events will take place in January, February & March to keep in touch visit

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

“Blooming” Busy Pupils Help Local Traders!

Downshire School’s Year 11 and Year 12 Horticulture classes were busy this week preparing floral hanging baskets for traders to display in the centre of Carrickfergus.

Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee, Alderman May Beattie who visited the blooming busy pupils said “The aim of the project, which has been funded by the Council’s Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative, is to brighten up the town centre this Christmas and use the horticultural talents of the Downshire School pupils.”

“Downshire pupils were a natural choice to create the floral displays due to the delivery of the subject of Horticulture which has had enormous examination success; and the interest in the Gardening Club which runs at lunch time and after school. Such examinations and clubs promote vocational opportunities for the young people and certainly their work on the planters for the Council has let them see a possible horticultural career path.”

“Carrickfergus in Bloom is a beacon of community gardening good practice, as it encourages residents to get involved, builds community spirit and improves the environment we all live in. With initiatives such as the school growing clubs, real opportunities for health, wellbeing and learning are being created.”

Principal Mrs Stewart commented on how pleased she was that the school had been given the opportunity to engage in such a civic venture and noted that the pupils now would be able to see their work on public display and would therefore take an even greater pride in their contribution to the local community. Everyone looks forward to seeing the lovely baskets adding a splash of colour to the newly refurbished town centre in the run up to Christmas.

Teachers Mrs Pauline Cowan (Downshire School) and Mr Robert Simpson (Newtownabbey Regional College) observed that doing work like this adds an extra dimension to the pupil’s experience of school and certainly provides added value to their educational experience.

Robert Stewart from Carrickfergus Traders Association thanked the school on behalf of the town centre shops benefiting from the floral displays this Christmas. He added “The Traders Association has been working in partnership with Carrickfergus Regeneration Partnership to roll out a floral scheme initiative. It is hoped that further work including community gardens within the town centre will compliment the completed public realm improvement scheme and that this will be an opportunity for more schools across the Borough to be involved”.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

National Poetry Day

To celebrate National Poetry Day today (Thursday 4th October 2012), Carrickfergus Borough Council has announced the winners of the Carrickfergus in Bloom Poetry Competition. The winners are:

Winner: Laura Wright, Whitehead.
Runner-Up: Anna Bricle, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Eve Hughes, Carrickfergus.

Read the winning poems at

Works starts on Marine Gardens play area

Work has started on the new Marine Gardens play area. See designs in Compass Magazine at

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Rose Award Success for Borough

Carrickfergus has been award the Translink Ulster in Bloom – Roses in Towns Trophy for 2012 at an award ceremony at Belfast Castle today. The Roses in Towns Trophy, is presented annually to the Council area with the best display of roses. The Borough also received the Best Station Award for Carrickfergus Rail & Bus Station and Best Community Rail Halt Award for Whitehead Rail Station.

Alderman May Beattie said "The three awards received today is recognition of the horticultural talent we have within the borough. Translink Ulster in Bloom is a great opportunity for our Borough to enhance its surroundings and create beautiful displays that are enjoyed by everybody. Our Borough is renowned for its floral displays which are enjoyed by residents and tourists alike. The Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative also plays a critical role in bringing people and investment to the town. However, it's important to say that issues such as cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement are equally as important.

In the Borough, the 'In Bloom' initiative is much more than bedding plants and making the Borough look good for one day; instead it is a 365 day initiative. Carrickfergus Borough Council along with our partners have done a wonderful job in broadening the appeal of the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative, by getting people to work together we have made our Borough better. Our successes within Ulster in Bloom could not have happened without the generous support of local people, community groups, businesses and other statuary bodies. I would like to thank the Council’s Parks and Cleansing staff whose hard work and imagination has been the backbone of our entries over many years and I congratulate everyone who took part this year." Ended Alderman May Beattie

Carrickfergus in Bloom Winner Announced

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee has announced the Carrickfergus in Bloom Competition Winners and Runners-up this morning for the Borough-wide Best Kept Awards.

At the Whitehead home of the Best Kept Garden winner Leslie Spearman, Alderman Beattie said “We are delighted to announce the Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competition Winners and Runners-up. Despite the dismal weather this year we have been impressed with the quality and diversity of the entrants that have entered. It has been an opportunity for me to see the wealth and variety of horticultural talent in our Borough.”

“Winners and runners-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes. At the ceremony we shall announce our plans for Carrickfergus in Bloom in the coming year. I would also like to thank the sponsors for supporting Carrickfergus in Bloom." ended Alderman Beattie

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer with Carrickfergus Borough Council and one of the judges commented "The quality of the entries this year has been impressive, the time and dedication many entrants spend in their gardens is a credit too them. Deciding on the winners is difficult and the marks can be very close, all who took part should be proud of their achievements." Please note Best Kept Painting & Poetry competitions are still open to enter visit
Best Kept Garden
  • Winner: Leslie Spearman from Whitehead
  • Runner-Up: Deborah Walker from Carrickfergus
  • Runner-Up: Georgie Brown from Carrickfergus
  • Runner-Up: Nicola Porter from Carrickfergus
Best Kept Container Garden
  • Winner: Marilyn Cairns from Carrickfergus
  • Runner-Up: Annette Keith from Carrickfergus
  • Runner-Up: Elizabeth Johnston from Eden
  • Runner-Up: Chris Hamil from Whitehead
Best Kept Community Planting Scheme
  • Winner: Carrickfergus Traders Association
  • Runner-Up: Brighter Whitehead
  • Runner-Up: Barn Court Children’s Home, Carrickfergus
  • Runner-Up: Brooklands Drive Residents Association, Whitehead.
Best Commercial Premises
  • Winner: The Courtyard, Carrickfergus.
  • Runner-Up: Hairtopia, Whitehead.
  • Runner-Up: Gary's, Carrickfergus.
Best Kept Café, Pub or Hotel
  • Winner: Coffee & Cream, Whitehead.
  • Runner-Up: Hillcrest Bed & Breakfast, Carrickfergus.
  • Runner-Up: The Courtyard Coffee House, Carrickfergus.
Tallest Sunflower Competition
  • Winner: Thomas & Harry Irwin from Carrickfergus
  • Runner-Up: Laura Clugston & Roma Rajkumar from Carrickfergus
  • Runner-Up: Sarah & Scott Alexander from Carrickfergus

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Tallest Sunflower Competition

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee is asking the Borough’s young gardening enthusiasts who have not filled in their application to do so before 4th September.

Alderman Beattie said "Carrickfergus Borough Council in April handed out thousands of sunflower seeds to Carrickfergus Borough primary and secondary school children as part of the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative. We also distributed application forms with the seed packs and have been amazed by the number of applications and photos received to date, the competition really catches the imagination of our young people. Last year's winner Joel McKimm from Carrickfergus grew a massive sunflower over 3 meters in height and we hope to have similar sizes this year despite the poor summer weather and recent stormy weather "

"Applicants for the Tallest Sunflower Competition are requested to measure their sunflower during the last week of August using a metric tape measure and complete the application form. Additional application forms are available from the Carrickfergus Museum & Civic Centre, Local Newspapers or from the Carrickfergus in Bloom website:"

"Due to the bank holiday Tuesday 4th September is the last day applications will be accepted and not 1st September as recently advertised in press advertisements and on promotional leaflets."

"The Carrickfergus in Bloom Children's Community Competitions have a total prize fund of £350. Other competitions include Poetry & Painting; entries for these competitions must be received by 30th September."

"Everybody who lives within the Borough of Carrickfergus is invited to take part in Carrickfergus in Bloom as there is something for everyone. By entering you not only brighten up your own house but you also aid our Borough's entry to the Ulster in Bloom competition." ended Alderman Beattie

The winners and runner-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes.


Monday, 23 July 2012

78 species found at Moth & Butterfly Hunt

At the weekend a Moth & Butterfly Hunt took place at Eden Allotment Gardens and Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood. The event was a great success with 78 different species of moth & butterfly found over the two day monitoring period. The results prove the rich and diverse habitats and species which exist in Carrickfergus Borough. The scale of the results impressed Catherine Bertrand, from Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland. Catherine said "The measures Council has taken to extend habitat provision and protect wildlife in Carrickfergus has resulted in a healthier environment, not just for wildlife but for everyone who lives here."

The Moth & Butterfly Hunt was part of the Love Parks Week initiative, which takes place between Saturday 21st and Sunday 29th July 2012. Events this weekend include:

Whitehead's Marvellous Medicine Walk with Marian Partridge on Saturday 28th July at 11am meeting in Blackhead Car Park.

A Woodland Walk at Oakfield Glen & Bashfordsland Wood with Dr Ben Simon on Saturday 28th July at 2pm meeting in Oakfield Community Centre.

Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet on Saturday 28th July in Shaftesbury Park. Gates open at 6.30pm. Show starts at 7.30pm.

Around the Allotments Photographic Exhibition by Stevie Gill (28th July 2012 - 8th August 2012) at Carrickfergus Museum & Civic Centre.

All events are free. For further information visit

Monday, 16 July 2012

Big Butterfly Count - this weekend (21st & 22nd July)

Carrickfergus Borough residents will part in the world’s biggest butterfly survey this weekend. This follows a warning from Butterfly Conservation President Sir David Attenborough who has warned that butterflies could suffer serious population crashes this year following record-breaking wet weather.

Last year, the UK public counted more than 320,000 butterflies. The data provided vital information - revealing that the average number of individual butterflies seen was down by 11% compared with 2010's figures. This year Butterfly Conservation wants to discover how garden favourite - the Small Tortoiseshell is faring after research revealed numbers were down across our countryside once again.

Catherine Bertrand, from Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland said: "The measures we take to protect butterflies in Carrickfergus result in a healthier environment, not just for wildlife but for everyone who lives here. I would encourage Carrickfergus residents to come along to the Butterfly Count events at Eden Allotment Gardens and Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood this weekend. " Carrickfergus Borough we have a number of Big Butterfly Count events.

Big Moth Hunt on Saturday 21st July at 7pm at Eden Allotment Gardens. Join Catherine Bertrand from Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland and discover what moth species you can find at Eden Allotment Gardens, Beltoy Road, Eden. This event continues the following morning (Sunday 22nd July) at 11am to ID what has been discovered.

Big Butterfly Count on Sunday 22nd July 2012 from 2pm at Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood (Meeting at Bentra Golf Course Car Park). Join Catherine Bertrand from Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland and discover what species you can find at the Borough's new venue Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood, which open in June this year to commemorate the 2012 Diamond Jubilee, marking Queen Elizabeth's 60th year as monarch.

Both events are FREE and those attending will also receive a FREE Butterfly ID Chart.

Sir David is urging the UK public to see how species have fared following several exceptionally damp months. April, the wettest for a century, was followed by the dampest June on record which saw flooding across parts of the UK. It is feared butterflies may have suffered poor breeding seasons as a result, which could lead to population crashes later this year or next spring. Conservationists are drawing parallels with the wet summer of 2007 which resulted in widespread flooding across parts of the UK and saw butterfly numbers plummet. Prolonged cold, wet weather delays emergence periods, reduces butterflies' life span and hampers mating and egg laying leading to fewer offspring. The results of this year's Big Butterfly Count will help assess the impact of the wet weather on our butterflies.

Sir David Attenborough explained: "The wet weather this spring and early summer has made life really hard for our butterflies and things could get worse unless conditions improve. Our butterflies were already struggling - almost three quarters of UK species have decreased in numbers during the last ten years. These falls are worrying because butterflies are important indicator species for our environment - their declines suggest a wider insect biodiversity crisis. You can play a vital role in the battle to secure their future. By taking part in the Big Butterfly Count you will be providing important information that could help turn their fortunes around."

For the third year running, the Big Butterfly Count is taking place in partnership with Marks & Spencer as part of its Plan A commitment to be the world's most sustainable major retailer by 2015. Richard Gillies, M&S Director of Plan A, said: "This is our third year of partnering with Butterfly Conservation, and we are encouraging all of our farmers, customers and employees to take part in the Big Butterfly Count. After all of the wet weather we have had this year we need as many people to take part as possible; at M&S we really want to make a positive contribution to the environment and by helping to get as many people involved in the Butterfly Count we can get a better understanding of biodiversity and how we can all play our part to protect it."

The Big Butterfly Count is encouraging a new generation of butterfly conservationists with The Butterfly Effect - a fun, educational programme organised by the National Schools Partnership (NSP) to get primary schools and families involved in the Count. Create your own virtual butterfly and discover more at

For more details about the big butterfly count visit

Thursday, 5 July 2012

2012 Translink Ulster in Bloom Competition Launched

Gardeners have been urged to help save the bumblebee by planting more pollinating flowers for this year’s Ulster in Bloom competition.

The 34th year of the annual horticulture competition has attracted 142 entries representing councils, community groups, businesses, bus and rail stations all preparing to impress judges.

Translink Chief Executive Catherine Mason said the Royal Horticultural Society had reported a decline in bee numbers, a serious concern considering the important role they play in the pollination of flora. "We have chosen to give away 'stock' seeds, a type of pollinator flower which supports bees and the transfer of pollen between plants. We would encourage our passengers to pick up a free packet of seeds from their local station and help support local biodiversity."

Speaking at the launch at Cultra Manor in north Down, Ms Mason called 2012 a flagship year for Northern Ireland: "It's important that our cities, towns and villages look their best and leave a lasting positive impression with visitors," she said. "The work undertaken by Ulster in Bloom also supports local biodiversity and this year, as part of our Go Eco drive, we are launching the Big Seeds Giveaway."

Councillor Freda Donnelly, of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association said: "I would like to pay tribute to the council parks and technical services departments, the local In Bloom committees, the business community and the many residents for their valued contribution to the Translink Ulster in Bloom competition. "This combined effort has made a notable improvement to the environment and townscapes right across Northern Ireland.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Official Opening of Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood

Mrs. Joan Christie OBE, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim officially opened Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood yesterday (Saturday 23rd June 2012 at 11am). The opening was followed by a family fun day that includes arts and crafts, storytelling, face painting, a bug hunt plus many other activities on a brimming woodland agenda – and all free of charge. With a wealth of fun activities on offer, it was an unmissable and historic day for everyone.

In total 60 Diamond Jubilee Woods have been planted throughout the UK. Each wood is at least 60 acres in size to symbolise 60 years of The Queen’s reign. Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood is the only Diamond Jubilee Wood planted in Northern Ireland.

Alderman Jim McClurg, Mayor of Carrickfergus explained “In April 2011 our Council received a presentation about the Jubilee Woods project by the Woodland Trust. We answered Princess Anne’s direct appeal to join in the celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by planting a new 60-acre woodland in Whitehead. We called upon the local community to help with the labour of planting, which began in January 2012. Together, in the words of Princess Anne “we can create something lasting and wonderful. We are pleased to have supported this Woodland Trust UK wide project and have been most appreciative of the support given to us by Patrick Gregg and his team at the Woodland Trust.”

“Although the champagne bubbles have faded from the thousands of street parties that took place over the Jubilee weekend, this Diamond Jubilee Wood will continue quietly growing. This is a project which will be best appreciated by our children and grandchildren. During the Queen’s long reign, second only to Queen Victoria, she has planted thousands of trees. Those trees form a tangible part of her legacy. Our Diamond Jubilee Wood will form part of ours and will be a very fitting tribute to her.”

“This Diamond Jubilee Wood is Carrickfergus Borough Council’ most ambitious environmental project to date. It will link the existing mature oak and ask woods nearby. These are of great age and to complement and extend them, this new woodland contains mainly oak and ask trees. In addition, we have planted rowan, willow, alder, cherry, hazel, hawthorn and blackthorn to provide a diverse wildlife habitat which will be enjoyed for many years to come.” ended Alderman McClurg

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities sub-committee said “The creation of this new woodland has been an excellent example of partnership and we have so many people to thank including our funders Northern Ireland Forest Service, GROW South Antrim, BIFFA & the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. I would also like to thank the thousands of individuals who took part in the various tree planting events last winter. We now have a woodland with 60,000 trees planted, a 2km of path network, a 1000sqm pond that is already teaming with wildlife. Other attractions include a Commonwealth Tree Avenue planted with copper beech; wildflower meadows, picnic area and a sculpture designed by artist Kevin Killen and local school children."

Patrick Cregg, the Woodland Trust’s Director in Northern Ireland, says: “We’re delighted that Northern Ireland is on the map of Diamond Jubilee Woods.  We’re extremely grateful to Carrickfergus Borough Council for making the land available, and we’re heartened by the enthusiasm of members of the public who helped to plant thousands of trees earlier this year.  The wood will be a wonderful natural resource for local people and visitors, and a much-needed habitat for our precious wildlife.”

Friday, 15 June 2012

It’s official: 60 Royal Woods fit for The Queen

From Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides to Whitehead in County Antrim, the UK's landscape and local environments are about to be transformed by the creation of 60 special woodlands. The new woods are a living, lasting tribute to The Queen’s historic Diamond Jubilee.

Each wood is at least 60 acres in size to symbolise 60 years of The Queen’s reign. And, long after the champagne bubbles have faded from the thousands of street parties taking place this Jubilee weekend, the Diamond Woods will continue quietly growing.

There will be a Diamond Wood in every region of the UK, giving everyone the chance to create an environmental legacy in their area. The Trust has worked with a diverse range of landowners from across the UK to create the new woods; including private landowners, universities, local authorities, and even the Queen herself is creating a Diamond Wood at Balmoral.

Northern Ireland’s gem, on the edge of the seaside village of Whitehead, is the result of a joint partnership between the Woodland Trust and owner Carrickfergus Borough Council.

Patrick Cregg, the Trust’s director in Northern Ireland, says: “We’re delighted that Northern Ireland is on the map. We’re extremely grateful to Carrickfergus Borough Council for making the land available, and we’re heartened by the enthusiasm of thousands of members of the public who rolled up their sleeves to help plant thousands of trees earlier this year. The wood will be a wonderful natural resource for local people and visitors, and a much-needed habitat for our precious wildlife.”

The Whitehead gem is already sparkling. Over 60,000 native trees, mostly oak and ash, now grace this quiet corner of nature. Other features include a stunning metal tree sculpture; while one of summer’s highlights will be a glorious wildflower meadow, boasting vibrant displays of cornflower marigold, poppy, ox-eye daisy and yellow rattle.

Woodland Trust Jubilee Woods Director Georgina McLeod said: “We’re absolutely delighted that so many different organisations and landowners have joined with the Trust to create these 60 very special Diamond Woods. They will help make a massive difference to the environment and pay a special tribute to Her Majesty the Queen. By the end of the project millions of people will have planted trees, a testament to the nation’s love for trees and our second longest reigning monarch.”

On top of the prestigious 60, the Trust has also confirmed that over 250 smaller Jubilee Woods will be planted across the UK helping to achieve the Trust’s ambitious target of planting 6 million trees this year, at least 1 million of them planted by children.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee Floral Tribute at Carrickfergus

A special jubilee flower bed was planted last week at Carrickfergus Castle and contains over 8,000 alpine plants. The Jubilee flower bed was designed and planted by staff from the Council’s Parks & Countryside Service.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Jubilee Theme to Launch of Carrickfergus in Bloom

On Friday lunchtime Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities sub-committee will launch Carrickfergus in Bloom 2012 in the grounds of the Andrew Jackson Cottage. School children from throughout Carrickfergus Borough and Community representatives will also be joining in to the sounds of the APEX Jazz Band.

Alderman Beattie said "In this Jubilee year we have just completed Northern Ireland's only 'Diamond Jubilee Wood' in Whitehead. Over 60 acres of new woodland has been created and we will be holding a host of opportunities to celebrate this unique piece of green space."

Alderman Beattie continued "We are also continuing with the Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competition. Categories include Best Kept Garden for individuals; For young people we have Painting and Poetry Competitions and the very popular Tallest Sunflower Competition. For the Business Community we have hotly fought categories such as Best Kept Shop. And for those interested in showing off their gardening and photography skills we have the Virtual Flower Show. All these competitions have not only brightened-up our Borough but have been fundamental to our success in Ulster in Bloom. Let's make this Jubilee year a winning years for Carrickfergus Borough."

Alderman Beattie also announced that in the next few weeks the Council will plant out thousands of summer bedding plants, many with a Jubilee theme, and thanked the many sponsors for their generous support and commitment to the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative. She also thanked the local schools who have shown such commitment to the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative. "The Schools Growing Club initiative is a great success and young people throughout the Borough are already benefiting with the link between healthy eating and growing fruit and vegetables at home and school. The growing schools initiative offers students the benefit of practical hands on activities, helping to motivate and enhance their learning experience."

Alderman Beattie continued "In 2012 we will continue with the Carrickfergus in Bloom campaigns of promoting capacity building through our grants initiative; we will also be encouraging wildlife gardening thought the Blooming Wild campaign; as well as the food growing campaign with initiatives such as the One Pot Pledge."

"Fruit and vegetable growing is also taking place at Eden Allotment Gardens. Since the launch in 2008 the allotments have expanded to become the largest allotment site in Ireland. We thank Sunnybank Garden Centre for continuing their support of the Best Kept Allotment Competition."

Alderman Beattie also highlighted the important partnership working that is carried out. "Carrickfergus Borough Council along with the Department of Environment, Housing Executive plus various community and charitable groups are working together to improve the environment of Carrickfergus Borough. The significant improvements at Bashfordsland Wood is an excellent example of partnership working that involved many organisations." ended Alderman Beattie

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Bird Watching with Dot

Photographs from Bird Watching with Dot event held at Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood on Sunday 6th May 2012.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Free Composting Demonstration at Eden Allotments

Carrickfergus Borough Council will be hosting a free composting demonstration and workshop on Saturday 5th May 2012 from 11am to 4pm at Eden Allotment Gardens.

The demonstration and workshop is part of the Department of the Environment’s (DOE’s) Rethink Waste campaign. Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland will be carrying out the demonstration and will have their mobile “Green Machine” and displays to highlight suitable materials for home composting. The interactive session will also provide the opportunity to make a small demonstration composter using recycled plastic bottles which you can then take home.

Up to a quarter of the average household waste is organic which means that it could be turned in to compost. Every day items from vegetable peelings, egg shells and tea bags to animal bedding and even the contents of the vacuum cleaner - all can go towards making nutritious compost. Garden waste such as grass cuttings, leaves, hedge trimmings, weeds, twigs and small branches (cut into pieces) can also be composted at home in a composter or compost heap.

Speaking on the initiative Environment Minister Alex Attwood said: “Composting is a win-win solution for the environment and for your pocket. The production of nutritious compost essentially allows you to feed your garden for free. Compost helps your flower beds and vegetable plots thrive and cuts down on the amount of waste going to landfill.

“Reducing waste to landfill is something we all have an interest in as failure to meet landfill targets could result in fines totalling £500,000 per day. I encourage everyone – whether a seasoned composter or someone just thinking about starting, to go along to this free demonstration.”

Jean Stewart from Carrickfergus Borough Council said: “The Council is delighted to be able to host this free composting demonstration and workshop for our residents. Composting returns vital organic matter and nutrients to the soil and it reduces the amount of landfilled waste, the production of harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases. Over the last year through recycling and composting the Council has diverted tonnes of waste from landfill saving local rate payers a considerable amount of money”.

“Those attending the event have an opportunity to win prizes including a top of the range composter. Alternatively compost bins can be purchased from Sullatober Depot, 10 Marshallstown Road, Carrickfergus BT38 9DE for a cost of £15 or alternatively you can send a cheque to the value of £20 (made out to Carrickfergus Borough Council) to Carrickfergus Town Hall and a Compost Bin will be delivered to your property.” Jean concluded.

For further information on how you can reduce, reuse and recycle log on to For information on recycling in your area please contact Jean Stewart on 028 9335 1192 or visit the Council website at

James McCambridge with Jean Stewart and Jennifer Smyth from Carrickfergus Borough Council

CVNI helping out at the Composting Day at Eden Allotments

Bug Hunt Photos

On Saturday 28th April young people from throughout the Borough and beyond took part in a bug and beastie hunt. The event took place at Northern Ireland’s only Diamond Jubilee Wood. At the Whitehead venue, the young wildlife enthusiasts took part in bug identifications and pond dipping with beetles, Small White butterfly and Water Boatmen being some of the insects identified.

At the Art Table – Sophia Yohanis, Corey Yohanis & Eden Adams

Pond Dipping – Mathew Kane & Charlotte Surgenor

At the Pond – Arran Greer, Hollie Greer & Skye Greer

Council spokesperson, Stephen Daye said “This event was a perfect opportunity to preview the Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood, which opens in June. The new 60 acre woodland has been created to celebrate the Queen's historic 2012 Diamond Jubilee. In the woodland we have planted 60,000 native trees, mostly oak and ash; and created a 1000sm pond and an extensive 2km path network to ensure visitors can view the extent of the site.  In addition, a majestic Commonwealth tree-lined avenue has pride of place with 54 copper beech trees representing the 54 countries within the Commonwealth. We have also in place a new art structure designed by artist Kevin Killen and pupils from Whitehead Primary School.”

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Big Jubilee Bug Hunt this Saturday

Celebrate the Queen's historic 2012 Diamond Jubilee on Saturday 28th April from 11am to 1pm at Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood with a Bug and Beastie Hunt with Pond Dipping and the Green Machine on site plus lots of other environmental activities at this fun outdoor event for all the family. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Pedestrian entrance and car parking at Bentra Golf Course.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

New Art Piece Installed in Diamond Jubilee Wood

A new art piece has been installed at Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood. The art piece was designed by artist Kevin Killen and local school children from Whitehead Primary School. The art piece was funded by Grow South Antrim and The Woodland Trust.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

60,000 Trees Planted

The last remaining trees were planted at Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood just before Easter. That brings a total of 60,000 trees planted at the new woodland. Members of the Northern Ireland Conservation Volunteers (CVNI) and local people came out for the last tree planting day of the year.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Whitehead Diamond Begins to Sparkle

The ‘Diamond Wood’ at Whitehead is glowing with life thanks to the hard work of nature lovers from throughout Northern Ireland. School children, local people and visitors transformed the landscape by planting thousands of trees during a week-long series of events in celebration of the Queen’s historic Diamond Jubilee.

Whitehead's new wood is the result of a partnership between the Woodland Trust and proud owner Carrickfergus Borough Council; and is one of 60 Diamond Woods springing to life across the UK as part of the Trust's ambitious Jubilee Woods project.

The Northern Ireland gem will be home to 60,000 native saplings, mostly oak and ash. In addition, a majestic tree-lined avenue already has pride of place: 54 copper beech trees represent the 54 countries within the Commonwealth and extend a warm leafy welcome to all. The 'Commonwealth Tree Avenue' was planted by the Housing Executive's Housing Community Network as part of its work to promote good race relations across Northern Ireland.

Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust, said: "We're extremely grateful to Carrickfergus Borough Council for making this land available. And we're heartened by the enthusiasm of the children and adults who rolled their sleeves up to get the tree planting underway. It's a wonderful way to mark the Queen's 60-year reign, while making a meaningful contribution to the environment."

The Mayor of Carrickfergus Borough Council, Alderman Jim McClurg, added: "Thanks to collective efforts we have the beginning of a fantastic natural resource. This new woodland will provide a much-needed habitat for wildlife and will be a lasting legacy for future generations. We hope that everyone - local people and visitors from further afield - will take time to explore and enjoy this quiet corner of nature."

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Plant Your Tree for the Jubilee

Nature lovers are invited to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by making a personal and lasting contribution to the environment. Mark this historic event by rolling up your sleeves to plant trees at Northern Ireland’s new ‘Diamond Wood’, just outside Whitehead, on Saturday 25 February from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

Tree planting, arts and crafts, storytelling, face painting and archery are just some of the activities on a brimming woodland agenda – and all free of charge.

The Woodland Trust’s Jubilee Woods project aims to involve millions of people in planting six million trees throughout the UK. At the core of the project will be the creation of 60 special Diamond Woods – each at least 60 acres in size.

Land on the doorstep of the seaside village of Whitehead has been chosen as the venue for Northern Ireland’s Diamond Wood. This jewel in the crown is the result of a joint partnership between the Trust and owner Carrickfergus Borough Council, and is funded by Forest Service and GROW under the NI Rural Development Programme.

Patrick Cregg, the Trust’s director, says: “This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the Queen’s 60-year reign while making a meaningful contribution to the landscape. This February - the anniversary of the accession to the throne - will see mass tree planting right throughout the UK. We’ve a target to plant 60,000 native saplings here at Whitehead, and we hope that individuals and groups will help get things off to a flying start.”

The Mayor of Carrickfergus, Alderman Jim McClurg, adds: “We want as many people as possible - local people and visitors - to join us. And with a wealth of fun activities on offer, it’s an unmissable day for everyone. This new wood will be a fantastic natural resource, a haven for wildlife, and a living legacy for future generations.”

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Video Link: Importantance of Parks and Green Spaces

Happy new year to all our readers. Experts from the health sector came together at a GreenSpace conference to reveal exactly how important parks and green spaces are to public health. Have enclosed a video link that you may be interested in: