Life

Cairn Wood: Battle to save amenity from being sold off

Cairn Wood forest near Clandeboye in north Down
Andrea McKernon

A BATTLE is on to save a Co Down forest and public walking route from being sold off by the government. The woodland near Clandeboye, Bangor, is part of a site being sold off by NI Water, a body within the Department for Regional Development (DRD).

Ards & North Down Council voted this week to support a motion by campaigning North Down Alliance councillor Andrew Muir to demand that minister Michelle McIlveen stop the sale of Cairn Wood Forest where none other than black rabbits dwell. The area – just off the Holywood-to-Bangor dual carriageway is close to the well-known Helen's Tower.

Mr Muir has started an online petition that has attracted more than 2,000 signatures demanding the woods be kept in public hands. According to Mr Muir – an avid runner – the next step is to present the petition to the Assembly on Tuesday; he has asked people opposed to the plans to meet him at Stormont at 10am.

IF NOTHING will get you off the sofa and out into a cold January day, Animal Wood in Castlewellan forest park surely will. Children can explore the woodland animals including a badger and its den, a red squirrel and a giant spider.

The wooden play structure has a climbing wall, fireman's pole and rope-bridge that ventures over to a hollow tree stump slide and Red Kite nest. The play park has one of the most stunning backdrops in Northern Ireland.

The forest park is also home to a 7.5 mile walk trail network featuring breathtaking views to the Mournes as well as some of the oldest and rarest existing trees in Ireland and Britain.

THE Golden Globes awards of the outdoors have been announced this week by OutdoorNI. The awards were voted for by the public with a keen eye on the places to go for the best fun outside.

The winners are:

Best Family Activity Provider: Life Adventure Centre, Castlewellan Forest Park

Best Thrillseeking Provider: The JungleNI Moneymore

Best Coastal Experience: Surfing at Troggs Surf School, Portrush

Best Skills Course Provider: Tollymore National Outdoor Centre, Tollymore Forest Park, Bryansford

Best Glamping Experience: National Trust Castle Ward Camping Pods, Strangford

Best Adventure Destination: Causeway Coast and Glens

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