Friday, 19 December 2014

Local Biodiversity Action Plan Launched

The Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) for Carrickfergus, Ballymena and Larne Council areas, which will form the new Mid and East Antrim District Council area was launched today and marks what will be a key landmark for biodiversity conservation in the region. The plan was presented by the Mayors of the three Council Boroughs and is considered an important step in furthering conservation of the rich biodiversity heritage that exists in the area. The document sets out how the biodiversity resource within the region can be protected and enhanced for the benefit of all and for future generations.  

The formation of a biodiversity plan has now increased importance, given the fact that the new Councils are taking on significant new responsibilities that impact on biodiversity including planning, urban regeneration and community development. Their role has recently been formalised in the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011, which introduced a statutory duty for public bodies to further the conservation of biodiversity. 
Carrickfergus, Ballymena and Larne Borough Councils, which are merging to form a new Local Authority covering Mid and East Antrim, are committed to the protection and enhancement of biodiversity and the wider environment. This commitment is underpinned by the development of this Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP), and the document will raise awareness of special flora and fauna, provide a framework for local action and encourage wider involvement and partnership working.
Stressing the importance of partnerships Alderman Charles Johnston, Mayor of Carrickfergus, said : “This Local Biodiversity Action Plan covering Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne Council areas will enable all lead partners - including council, government and non-government agencies and community groups - to continue to work together to deliver biodiversity benefits throughout the future Mid and East Antrim area.’
Councillor Martin Wilson, Mayor of Larne Borough Council said : “We are delighted to launch this document as it sets out a framework to undertake practical conservation work, and to raise awareness of the wealth of wildlife and special places that exist in this region’.
Councillor Audrey Wales, Mayor of Ballymena, said the plan would stimulate increased involvement: “The new LBAP will provide an opportunity for organisations and communities to get involved in practical wildlife conservation.   There are a huge number of people within the area that are already doing great work on behalf of Biodiversity and through the strategy we hope to support even more projects on the ground and inspire more people to become involved in the future.”
Commenting on the new plan Councillor Billy Ashe stated “it is hoped that Mid and East Council will get an opportunity to formally adopt this new plan which can form a solid platform on which to take forward this important work”.
This production of the LBAP was supported by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Hedgelaying at Diamond Jubilee Wood

Photograph from Hedgelaying event on Saturday (15th Nov) at Diamond Jubilee Wood in Whitehead. Hedgelaying is a traditional management technique. Our next Hedgelaying event will be Saturday 29th November 2014 from 10am - 3pm at Diamond Jubilee Wood in Whitehead.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Winter Tree Planting Events

Hedgelaying Workshops - Free Family Fun: Hedgelaying Workshops on Saturday 15th & 29th November 2014 at Diamond Jubilee Wood in Whitehead from 10am to 3pm. Hedgelaying is a traditional management technique. Ever wondered how it’s done? Well now is your chance! This outdoor event is FREE. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear. Link:

Tree Planting - WW1 Memorial Copse: 400 young trees will be planted in a WW1 Memorial Copse at Bashfordsland Wood on Sunday 16th November 2014. f you would like to plant a remembrance tree in memory of a loved one who has passed away, please come along.  We are meeting at the Red Fort Park entrance at 11am on Sunday 16th November.  For further information please contact Alison
028 9335 8044 / Link:

Celebrate the Christmas Hedgerow: Celebrate the Christmas Hedgerow on Saturday 6th December 2014 at Eden Allotment Gardens & Community Centre from 11am to 3pm.  Join hedgerow experts for guided walks, foraging, exploring biodiversity and planting hedgerow trees. Inside activities include bouncy castle, face painting, balloon modelling and a chance to make Christmas art and crafts plus taste hedgerow food and drinks. Link:

Friday, 31 October 2014

Carrickfergus in Bloom Winners Honoured at Prize-Giving

Community floral and artistic creativity was recognised by the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative organised by Carrickfergus Borough Council. The local ‘Best Kept’ competition winners and runners received their well earned certificates and prizes at a prize-giving lunch in Carrickfergus Town Hall today (Friday 31st October) with over 90 people attending the event.
Competition categories included Best Kept Garden & Best Kept Container Garden for householders; Best Kept Commercial Premises for commercial organisations; Painting, Poetry and Tallest Sunflower Competitions for young people.

At the Lunch, the Chairperson of Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee, Alderman May Beattie thanked all those who took part in the competition and made it such a success. “The Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competitions have really caught the imagination of our Boroughs citizens. This year over 1,230 people created some beautiful floral displays that we can all enjoy." said Alderman Beattie

“This year we have a great deal to celebrate, at the Britain in Bloom awards, the Borough received two silver gilt awards for Carrickfergus and Whitehead towns, our best result since the inception of the competition. We also received awards at Ulster in Bloom.”

“Carrickfergus in Bloom is a beacon of community gardening good practice, as it encourages people to get involved, builds community spirit and improves the environment we all live in. With initiatives such as our school growing clubs and green gyms which create opportunities for health, wellbeing and learning.”

Alderman Beattie also thanked the competition sponsors who paid for many of the flowerbeds and hanging baskets throughout the Borough. "The success of Carrickfergus in Bloom could not have happened without the generous support of local businesses throughout the Borough of Carrickfergus."

"We would also thank our partners that have made Carrickfergus in Bloom such a success. Conservation Volunteers, The Woodland Trust, Translink, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the Department of Regional Development and many others have all helped to improve the environment of Carrickfergus Borough this year“. Ended Alderman Beattie

List of Winners:

Monday, 20 October 2014

Borough Success at Gardening Oscars

Carrickfergus Borough has scooped two Silver Gilt awards at the 50th Britain in Bloom UK Final awards in Bristol. Britain in Bloom is Europe’s biggest community gardening campaign run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). Carrickfergus was successful in the Large Town category and Whitehead scooped another Silver Gilt in the Small Town category.
Commenting on the experience of taking part in Britain in Bloom 2014, Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks and Countryside Sub Committee of Carrickfergus Borough Council stated: “Once again we have benefitted immensely from participating in Europe’s premier horticultural awards scheme. From an aesthetical perspective, the Borough’s planting schemes are looking tremendously well. However, on a more important note, it is the immense community and voluntary participation and support of our initiatives, at creating and maintaining our blooming borough on an all year round basis that is pivotal in our ability to take part in this prestigious competition. I would like to commend all who took part in this year’s initiative.”

Stephen Daye, Parks and Countryside Development Officer who attended the ceremony which was held at the Bristol Marriott City Centre and was attended by almost 400 community gardening champions, said “This is a wonderful accolade for the Borough. It is the result of much hard work and no-one should underestimate the amount of effort which has gone into this campaign by all our partners. Our Borough's successes could not have happened without the generous support of local people, businesses and schools; and statuary bodies such as Carrickfergus Borough Council, the Housing Executive and Department of Regional Development.”

Bill Pollock, Chairperson of Brighter Whitehead who also attended the ceremony said “Britain in Bloom is a magnificent opportunity for Whitehead to enhance its surroundings and create beautiful displays that are enjoyed by everybody. Our ‘in bloom’ campaign is much more than flowers and making the town look good for one day; instead it is a 365 day initiative that looks at sustainable development and biodiversity, conservation and recycling, local environmental quality, permanent landscaping, and public awareness of the environment. I would encourage everybody interested in our campaign to visit the Brighter Whitehead website ( for further details on our campaign and how you can help us next year.

Commenting on Carrickfergus in Bloom’s efforts, RHS judges Brendan Mowforth & Mark Wasilewski said: ‘An evident community spirit has been fostered and is well supported by the strong relationship with and support from Carrickfergus Borough Council. There is a very strong emphasis on biodiversity, health and well-being, and the Brighter Whitehead Group works actively in fostering cohesion across all sections of the town.”

The RHS Britain in Bloom awards are a chance to celebrate the work of dedicated volunteers across the UK, of which there are up to 300,000, and to recognise achievement, innovation and a commitment to keeping our villages, towns and cities clean, green and thriving.
Bloom volunteers collectively invest nearly 11 million hours every year into local Bloom activities, which equates to almost £70 million at the National Minimum Wage. It is hoped that the transformation of community spaces championed at the RHS Britain in Bloom awards ceremony will encourage even more people to get involved and help continue to make a positive difference over the next 50 years.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Painting & Poetry 'Carrickfergus in Bloom' Winners Announced

Today Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee announced the winners and runners-up (list enclosed) of the Carrickfergus in Bloom Children’s Painting & Poetry Competitions.
Alderman Beattie said “We are delighted to announce the Carrickfergus in Bloom Children’s Painting & Poetry Competition Winners and Runners-up. I am thrilled with the response from those taking part and am really excited about the quality and diversity of the entrants. It has been an opportunity for me to see the wealth and variety of artistic talent in our community. “Winners and runners-up will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the end of October in Carrickfergus Town Hall to receive their certificates and prizes.

Children's Painting Competition 15 and under (view all paintings)
Winner: Lauryn Glass, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Hollie Gilliland, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Leanne Ku, Carrickfergus.

Children's Painting Competition 10 and under (view all paintings)
Winner: Jenna Kane, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Maddison Brown, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Martin Kearney, Carrickfergus.

Poetry Competition (read poems)
Winner: Alexander Grant, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Alice Logan, Carrickfergus.
Runner-Up: Kathryn Howard, Carrickfergus.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Community Garden Competition Winners 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 Carrickfergus home of the Best Kept Container Garden winner Deborah Walker, Alderman Beattie said: “We are delighted to announce the Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competition winners and runners-up. We have been really impressed with the quality and diversity of the entries to the competition this year. It has been an opportunity for me to see the wealth and variety of horticultural talent we have 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 to them. Deciding on the winners is difficult and the marks can be very close, all who took part should be proud of their achievements."

To view a list of all winner visit

Friday, 5 September 2014

Tallest Sunflower Winners Announced

The winner and runners-up of the Carrickfergus in Bloom Tallest Sunflower Competition have been announced today.
The winner is Samantha Braniff, aged 6, from Carrickfergus whose sunflower grew a mighty 3 metres! The runners-up are Olivia Hadden from Greenisland, age 8, and Keera Reid, age 7, from Carrickfergus.

Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Officer explained “In March Carrickfergus Borough Council distributed two thousand packets of Sunflower seeds to local school children as part of the Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative to Get Kids Growing. After months of tender loving care by the young gardeners it’s great to see the end results. The time and dedication many entrants spend on tending their sunflowers is extraordinary and is a credit to them."

“We would like to remind everyone that there is still a chance to enter our painting and poetry competitions. Why not paint a beautiful picture of your garden or favourite flower, or write a poem about ‘Carrickfergus In Bloom’?”

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

‘Out to Play’ at Shaftesbury Park

Carrickfergus Borough Council held its first family ‘Out to Play’ session in Shaftesbury Park. This event focused on free, unstructured play and was facilitated by the Council’s Parks and Countryside Section and Play Board NI. At the event, children of all ages were encouraged to play in whatever way they wanted – most importantly, there were no rules.

Team work - the Villiers and Farmer families build a den and swings
at Shaftesbury Park in Carrickfergus

Eve and Daniel Currry having a 'splashing time' at Shaftesbury Park in Carrickfergus

Monday, 11 August 2014

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Playday in Carrickfergus

Playday is the national day for play and takes place on Wednesday 6th August from 11am to 3pm in the Marine Gardens in Carrickfergus. To celebrate Playday, children, young people and communities get out and play at hundreds of community events across the UK. As well as a celebration, Playday is an opportunity to campaign on issues affecting children's play. 
Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee said “This is a great opportunity to enjoy the Marine Gardens Play Area and for Playday we have a number of additional free activities such as a bouncy castle, face painting, balloon modeling, Punch and Judy and DJ on site.” 
Alderman Beattie added “Play is such an important part of any child's development and Playday provides a fantastic opportunity to celebrate it and promote its many benefits. It also highlights the benefits of imaginative play to parents and communities.”  
“Outdoor play is vital for any child, providing stimuli to learn and the health benefits of being in the open air. The range of play opportunities on offer in Carrickfergus Borough is extensive and gives parents and carers some great opportunities to get outdoors with their youngsters".  
“Getting outside to play is healthy. It’s part of a healthy lifestyle. Play reduces stress and helps fight the obesity epidemic in our society today. So many good things come from good play.”  
“This year, we're calling on everyone to celebrate Playday 2014 and show why play is fundamental to children's enjoyment of childhood, and vital to their health, well-being and development. In light of government cuts to play services across the country, it is more crucial than ever that we unite to stand up for play.” 
“Carrickfergus Borough Council has set out a clear committed to children’s play with a mission to create child and family friendly play spaces which will support our young people in building relationships and learning new skills that will positively develop their capacity both socially and emotionally. Last year we published our play strategy for the Borough and the ‘Children’s Charter’ which set out our ten pledges to the children and young people of Carrickfergus Borough and how Carrickfergus Borough Council will achieve those pledges”.  Ended Alderman Beattie
For Further Press Information Contact: Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer at Carrickfergus Borough Council. T: (028) 93358000 ~ M: 0793 9633834 ~ E: ~ W:

Mia Walls, Jasmine Steel, Ellie Spratt and Ella Ferris from Little Einsteins Nursery in Carrickfergus.

Matthew Beck from Carrickfergus.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Biodiversity Summer School in Diamond Jubilee Wood

Carrickfergus Borough Council will be hosting a Biodiversity Summer School from Monday 4th to Friday 8th August 2014 – every morning from 11am to 1pm at Diamond Jubilee Wood in Whitehead. The aim is to inspire and galvanize Borough residents to discover more about the incredible species and habitats on their doorstep.
The Biodiversity Summer School is a free outdoor event across five days and gives families the opportunity to take part in fun biodiversity projects such as pond dipping, mini-beast hunts and bird box building. Learn about the natural world through a variety of activities and games. There is no need to book - just turn up to take part whatever your age. We will be meeting every morning at 11am at Bentra Car Park (Slaughterford Road, Whitehead).
This is the second year of the Biodiversity Summer School (see enclosed photo from last year) which is part of a wider environmental campaign headed by the BBC called the ‘Summer of Wildlife’. Which has a clear purpose to showcase and celebrate the UK's unique and extraordinary flora and fauna.
The Biodiversity Summer School is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our local wildlife at Diamond Jubilee Wood in Whitehead. Although the wood only opened in 2012, the 60 acre site which is the Borough’s newest public park, is already a haven for wildlife and an excellent opportunity to celebrate the local biodiversity we have on our doorstep.
Event Details:
Day 1 (Monday 4th August): Natural Art: Come along on a guided tour of the woodland and collect natural materials to make your own unique piece of art! Leaves, twigs, petals and grasses can be bound together or pressed onto paper to make a wonderful picture or creative piece of jewellery to take home.
Day 2. (Tuesday 5th August): Come Dine with Me: Help feed our feathered friends by making lots of tasty cakes and treats from raw ingredients. Using natural and recycled materials these treats can be left in the nature reserve or taken home and will completely biodegrade. Learn how to reuse household waste to create simple feeders for taking home and learn the importance of feeding birds especially through the winter season.
Day 3. (Wednesday 6th August): Pond Life: What's living in the water in the woodland? From quick- flying insects on the surface to wriggly fish in the water, catch and bottle a variety of minibeasts for a closer look at the secretive and mysterious world of the pond. Learn about the food chain of the pond, how they share the wettest part of the wood and what you can do to enhance their wild habitat.
Day 4. (Thursday 7th August): Build-a-Box: Do you want to attract more wildlife into your garden? Make your own habitat for wildlife to take home. Choose from bird or bat box or a mini-beast hostel, and use a range of hand tools to follow a set template. Learn how the importance of protecting our native birds and bat with instruction on where to place and how to monitor your bird and bat box.
Day 5. (Friday 8th August): Seed Bombing: Get your hands dirty for a great cause. Roll up your sleeves and make mud pies and dip them in lots of lovely native wildflower seeds. Join us for a walk around the woodland, find a bare patch of ground and then... throw your seed bomb where it will grow into a beautiful patch of wildflowers over the next few years. Bees will love you for giving them food!

For further information or for updates on the above information check the Council website or telephone 028 9335 8000.

Woodland Walk at Bashfordsland Wood

Photo from Woodland Walk (on Monday 28th July) in Bashfordsland Wood with Dermot Hughes. Part of Love Parks Week.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Carrickfergus Borough gets set to love parks

The people of Carrickfergus Borough and throughout the UK are showing how much they love their local parks by getting out and celebrating national Love Parks Week, which takes place between Friday 25th July and Sunday 3rd August.
Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee said “Love Parks Week encourages friends, families, the young and old, to come together and enjoy what our parks and green spaces offer. People must never forget that these spaces provide many opportunities for friendships, education, health, exercise and simple play and fun. Let’s celebrate our green spaces, show you support for Love Parks Week.”

“Love Parks Week is the perfect excuse to get outdoors and enjoy the summer. We’re celebrating all that parks have to offer, so why not visit your local park during the campaign to show what it means to you?

“Love Parks Week is the ultimate green campaign; it commands for our parks and green spaces to be supported and invested in, whilst delivering a whole week of free local outdoor events throughout the Borough, visit our website to find out what’s going on in a park near you.”

“Events in the Borough (LINK) range from no pain no gain Boot Camp and Body Combat taster sessions to more genteel pursuits such as Tai-Chi , woodland walks and outdoor theatre. We want these events to inspire people to get out and enjoy the fresh air of Carrickfergus Borough’s green space.”

Love Parks Weeks is now in its eighth year and last year more than 380,000 people were inspired to head down to an event at a beautiful park or green space. This is the second year the nationwide initiative has been run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, who stepped in at the eleventh hour to save the campaign following the closure of parks charity GreenSpace last year.

Keep Britain Tidy’s Love Parks Manager, Paul Todd said: “Love Parks Week is the ultimate celebration of our beautiful parks and green space and it is fantastic that Carrickfergus Borough is getting involved in this year’s event. Green spaces are absolutely vital to every community and make a massive contribution to people’s health. In this time of budget cuts, it is essential that everybody uses and values their local green space, otherwise we could all be in danger of losing them. We want this year’s event to be the biggest and best celebration yet, so we are urging everyone to get down to their local green space and take part in the festivities.”

See all Events at:

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Love Parks Week events in Carrickfergus - Advance Notice

Love Parks Week is an annual campaign to celebrate parks and other green space.With over loads of events across the Borough - from Zumba classes to Butterfly Hunts - there was something for everyone in Love Parks Week 2014. Check out our Love Parks Week events website at

Friday, 30 May 2014

Launch of Carrickfergus in Bloom 2014.

This lunchtime (Friday 30th May) Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside and Amenities Sub-Committee for Carrickfergus Borough Council launched Carrickfergus in Bloom 2014 in the grounds of the Andrew Jackson Cottage. Local school children and community representatives from throughout Carrickfergus Borough joined in with Alderman Billy Ashe, Mayor of Carrickfergus to the sounds of the APEX Jazz Band.
Alderman Beattie said “Carrickfergus hosted the Translink Ulster in Bloom awards ceremony this year and as hosts we notched up no less than five awards, the most the Borough has ever achieved in some twenty years of competing. Additionally, both Carrickfergus and Whitehead have been nominated to represent the province in the prestigious 2014 Britain in Bloom Awards in the “Large Town” and “Small Town” categories respectively. Carrickfergus Borough Council has a long and active role in supporting community horticulture which goes far beyond the decorative. In fact, one of the five awards achieved this year was a special award for outstanding achievement for its programmes promoting biodiversity.”
Alderman Beattie continued “Carrickfergus Borough Council is committed to our localCarrickfergus in Bloom initiative. This year the challenge goes out to everybody who lives and works within the Borough of Carrickfergus. Whether you plant a hanging basket, enter one of the community gardening competitions, plant a tree, start growing fruit and vegetables or put up bird box, there is something for everyone to do and enjoy in their garden or in the community green space that we all benefit from. This year we are continuing with the Carrickfergus in Bloom Community Competition. Categories include Best Kept Garden for individuals; For children 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. These competitions not only brighten up our Borough but have been fundamental to our success in Ulster in Bloom. Let’s make 2014 another winning years for our Borough.”
Alderman Beattie also announced that in the next few weeks the Council will plant out thousands of summer bedding plants 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 2014 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 and our new allotment site at Greenisland. We thank Sunnybank Garden Centre for continuing their support of the Best Kept Allotment Competition. If residents are interest in obtaining an allotment visit our website: ”
Alderman Beattie also highlighted the important partnership working that is carried out. “Carrickfergus Borough Council along with the Department of Environment, Northern Ireland Housing Executive plus various community and charitable groups are working together to improve the environment of our Borough."

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Evening Birdsong at Bashfordsland Wood

Join well-known bird expert Dot Blakely (seen on TV's BBC Wildweek Live), to find out more about birds in and around Bashfordsland Wood.
Birdsong can be soothing and relaxing, cheerful and inspiring. In fact, a recent survey by the National Trust found that birdsong is our favourite spring sound! So don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to hear Birdsong at Bashfordsland Wood guided by televisions Bird Expert Dot Blakely (from BBC’s Wildweek Live).

Bird enthusiasts often get up at the break of dawn to hear the calls of our common birds including chaffinches, sparrows and finches. But this month Carrickfergus Borough Council is taking a more laid back approach with a dusk chorus event at Bashfordsland Wood.

This will be a wonderful experience for the whole family - ideal for all ages and both keen birdwatchers and novices. Dot will help you identify our different birds by their songs and answer any birding questions. Bashfordsland Wood is a prime location for Carrickfergus bird life - come and hear for yourself!

This evening performance is tuning up on Friday 30th May. Meet at 7pm at the entrance to Bashfordsland Wood at Red Fort Park, off Marshallstown Road. This event is outdoors so please wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

For further information please contact Ben Simon on e-mail

Event Link:

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Spring Clean at Eden Allotment Gardens

This Saturday (17th May) Carrickfergus Borough Council is holding a Spring Clean day at the Eden Allotments. This is the perfect chance to tidy up your plot and meet other plot holders.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Carrickfergus Borough is ‘Growing for Gold’

Carrickfergus in Bloom is distributing 4,000 packs of sunflower seed to local school children to promote its Tallest Sunflower Competition and also celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom. Carrickfergus & Whitehead towns will represent Northern Ireland this summer in the Britain in Bloom finals.

Carrickfergus in Bloom is asking the Borough’s young horticultural enthusiasts to join the thousands of young gardener’s throughout the UK in a mass-planting of sunflower seeds during National Gardening Week (14-21 April) to celebrate 50 golden years of Europe’s largest community gardening campaign – RHS Britain in Bloom.

A Council spokesperson said "Carrickfergus Borough Council is distributing the sunflower seeds to Carrickfergus Borough primary and secondary school children as part of the Carrickfergus in Bloom Tallest Sunflower Competition.”

“What better way to celebrate this huge anniversary for Britain in Bloom than a mass planting of beautiful golden sunflowers. These gorgeous and uplifting plants have been known to grow an astonishing four metres high, which reflects the sort of spirit and drive we associate with our local young people and other volunteers who transform our Borough each year.”

“We’re providing the seeds as a big ‘thank you’ to all the industrious and passionate young people who work to ensure that our Borough stays clean, green and beautiful. It is also a chance to do something big for the environment – sunflowers provide vital food for pollinators this summer.”
“The Carrickfergus in Bloom Children's Community Competitions has 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 & Britain in Bloom competition. The winners and runner-up of all Carrickfergus in Bloom competitions will be invited to a prize-giving ceremony at the Town Hall in October to receive their certificates and prizes. In 2013, 1850 people took part in the Carrickfergus in Bloom community competitions.”

Friday, 21 March 2014

Planting the Hedgerow - Free Fun Day Out

Come along to this free event and help thicken up the hedgerows around Bashfordsland Wood. Find out what wildlife our native hedges support and why they are one of nature's greatest assets.

EVENT DETAILS: Saturday 5th April 2014 from 10am to 1pm at Bashfordsland Wood.(Meet at Oakfield Community Centre 10am sharp then a short walk to Bashfordsland Wood).

This outdoor event is FREE. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear.

Event Link

Friday, 14 February 2014

Love Parks this Valentine's Day

Carrickfergus Borough Council has launched its plans for 2014 Love Parks Week on Valentine's Day in the most romantic place possible – the great outdoors. Over the past six years the people of Carrickfergus Borough and throughout the UK have shown how much they love their local parks by getting out and celebrating national Love Parks Week, which takes place between 25th July to 3rd August 2014. Events range from Tai Chi, Zumba & Boot Camps to Moth and Butterfly Hunts and other wildlife events and walks. We want these events to inspire people to get out and enjoy fresh air and the fun of the outdoors. More information at

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Community Orchard Planting Day on 23rd February 2014

Fruit Tree Planting Event on Sunday 23rd February 2014, starting at 1pm in Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood. A full-on family event so, apart from the tree-planting, there’ll be guided walks, artistic endeavours and other attractions. Experts on hand to tell you the stories of the trees, show you how to forage food for free, teach you how to keep a hedge under control. We’ll help you to build your own bird-box, hang some feeders and make a leaf-print. This event is organised by Transition Town Whitehead.

Turning plastic bags into apples: The government's 'carrier bag levy' was started in April 2013; it meant you had to pay a 5p charge when you chose to take a shop's plastic bag with your groceries. This has raised over £3m since then, much of which has been channelled into the NI Environment Agency's NGO Challenge Fund, available to community and voluntary organisations for environmental projects. Transition Town Whitehead has been one of the beneficiaries; and received a grant of almost £8,500 from the fund for their 'Edible Landscape' project. With the ready co-operation of Carrickfergus Borough Council, who manage Diamond Jubilee Wood. They intend to plant a sustainable and edible community orchard in the Diamond Jubilee Wood. The grant has enabled them to buy almost 200 fruit and nut trees - apples, pears, cherries, damsons, walnut, hazelnut - and a mixture of berry bushes. Within a few years, these trees will be bearing fruit, for the benefit of everyone who visits the wood and, indeed, for the bird population as well.

Jim Kitchen, from Transition Town Whitehead, said, "Planting these trees this year is our investment in the future. In a few years' time, we'll literally be able to use the fruits of our labour by making puddings, jams and chutneys from the produce of this orchard. We hope this is the first step in what will become an edible landscape - over the next few years, we can add beehives, fruiting hedgerows and, maybe one day, a full scale community allotment scheme. So, why don't you come along and help us take the first steps. It's all happening on Sunday 23rd February from 1pm to about 4pm. If it's still raining, put on your boots and waterproofs, bring a spade if you have one, and join us for this planting party. You don't need to know anything about planting trees; you just need a wee bit of enthusiasm.