Northern Ireland’s ‘Diamond Wood’ at Bentra, Whitehead is sparkling with life, thanks to the tree-planting efforts of over 1,000 local people who dug deep earlier this year.

Recent works, including an improved 2 kilometre pathway network, complete the transformation and make a visit to this quiet corner of nature a must for all nature lovers.

The new wood is the result of a partnership between the Woodland Trust and proud owner Carrickfergus Borough Council. It’s one of 60 Diamond Woods springing to life across the UK as part of the Trust’s Jubilee Woods project, which marks the Queen’s historic Diamond Jubilee.

Our Northern Ireland gem is home to at least 60,000 native saplings. Other features include a dazzling steel tree sculpture with 60 metal leaves; while one of summer’s highlights is a glorious wildflower meadow, boasting vibrant displays of cornflower marigold, poppy, ox-eye daisy and yellow rattle. A 1,000 square metre wildlife-rich pond has already been explored by young people in numerous pond-dipping events.

Gregor Fulton, site manager with the Woodland Trust, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Carrickfergus Borough Council for making this land available. Thanks to collective efforts, we have a precious woodland which marks the Queen’s 60-year reign, while making a lasting contribution to the environment.

“The finishing touch has been improvements to the pathways, made possible thanks to funding from Biffa Award. And we really hope that local people and visitors en route to the scenic Antrim Coast will take time to explore this young wood – whatever the season.”

Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood is funded by Forest Service and GROW under the NI Rural Development Programme. Improvements to the pathways have been funded by Biffa Award.

To find out more or to join ‘the Friends of Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood’ – a voluntary group of local people dedicated to caring for this natural resource – contact Stephen Daye at Carrickfergus Borough Council. Telephone 028 9335 8000; email parks@carrickfergus.org; or visit www.carrickfergus.org/jubileewood

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