Historic Belfast wood receives cash boost

Toni Wilkinson and Andrew Christie with Warren Bell, Alpha Resource Management; Rosie Irwin, the Woodland Trust; and Richard Rogers, Groundwork Northern Ireland. (Picture: Michael Cooper) Toni Wilkinson and Andrew Christie with Warren Bell, Alpha Resource Management; Rosie Irwin, the Woodland Trust; and Richard Rogers, Groundwork Northern Ireland. (Picture: Michael Cooper)
By Evan Short

ONE of North Belfast’s most mature woodlands has received a major funding boost to help attract visitors.

Throne Wood between the Whitewell Road and Antrim Road has been awarded almost £48,000 from the Alpha Programme, administered by Groundwork Northern Ireland for public access upgrades.

Owned by the Woodland Trust, the wood has a colourful history and it is hoped more people will get to experience it thanks to the cash injection.

Planted in the early 1800s, the wood belonged to a house marked on the 1830 Ordnance Survey map as ‘The Throne’. The renowned poet Sir Samuel Ferguson, revered by WB Yeats, lived in the house for a time in the 1820s.

The wood is now home to mature trees which are buffered by hundreds of recently planted native saplings and a wide range of insects and birds including the goldcrest, treecreeper, jay and sparrowhawk. Several species of bat, such as the common pipistrelle, have also been spotted.

Rosie Irwin is the Woodland Trust’s site manager and she said the money would be well spent.

“This is a truly special wood, but something of a secret. And now, thanks to funding from the Alpha Programme, we have an opportunity to put Throne Wood on the map. We want walkers, nature-lovers and families to have a chance to visit and appreciate this wonderful natural resource. It really is a breath of fresh air in a very urban setting.”

Improved pathways, interpretation panels, pond improvements and a new dipping platform are just some of the works about to take place. An area used as an outdoor classroom by the neighbouring primary school, Hazelwood Integrated, is also in line for upgrade.

Warren Bell from Alpha Resource Management said they were pleased to support the project.

“We are delighted to support Throne Wood, a Woodland Trust wood.

“This lovely mature woodland offers an oasis of beauty and tranquility close to the northern edge of Belfast’s suburbia. It has a wonderful mix of wildlife, including spring flowers, ponds and open glades.”

Throne Wood can be accessed via the Antrim Road in north Belfast. It will officially show-off its new look next spring, when visitors will be treated to colourful displays of bluebell, lesser celandine and wood anemone.

To find out more search for Throne Wood online at woodlandtrust.org.uk.

 

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