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.”