Did you know that there are 14 Green Flag award winning parks and open spaces across the Borough? Why not take some time to pay a visit?
The Green Flag Award is an international certification which recognises parks and open spaces with high levels of maintenance, facilities and community involvement.
Included in the 2017/18 awards were a few first-time winners, including Jordanstown Loughshore Park, Hazelbank Park and Gideons Green, Mill Race Trail, Valley Park and Wallace Park.
Ballyeaston Church Ruin received a second Green Flag Community Award. The site which is managed and maintained by volunteers from Ballyeaston Village Committee.
Parks and open spaces are an important resource for people and wildlife. So, if you want to blow the winter cobwebs away or simply take the dog for a walk, you will find somewhere special to suit you in the Borough!
The Newtownabbey Way is a linear walkway through the heart of Newtownabbey linking a variety of parks and providing a fantastic off-road cycle and walking path along the banks of the Three Mile Water. From Mossley Mill to the shores of Belfast Lough, you will experience mature woodlands and wildflower meadows, making it hard to believe you are minutes from an urban metropolis!
This rural burial ground has a number of significant historical points of interest including a corpse house and a mausoleum. Seats have been strategically placed in the garden of remembrance to provide fantastic views over the Six Mile Valley towards the Antrim Hills.
Mallusk Cemetery provides plenty of opportunities to learn about local history with significant graves in abundance. The site is managed for biodiversity with local school children taking part in events including bulb plantings and bug hunts!
V36, Valley Park and Glas-na-braden
This site really has it all – adventure play park, sporting and leisure facilities, duck pond, walks, park run, coffee shop, river not to mention easy connections to the Belfast Lough. Whether it is a quick walk with your dog or a day out, this site will provide you with just what you need!
Jordanstown Loughshore Park, Hazelbank Park and Gideons Green
Not just one, but three parks, linked by the Coastal cycle path to Belfast enables visitors to pick and choose their experience when visiting one or all of these sites. Why not park at Hazelbank and cycle along the off-road cycle path to Jordanstown Loughshore Park for an ice cream, the exciting play park or a picnic on the beach? Or head towards Belfast and do some bird watching at the Whitehosue Lagoon in Gideons Green – a RSPB site popular with wading birds feeding on the mudflats while the tide is out.
SixMile Water Park
This attractive, large urban park is a gem in the market town of Ballyclare. A variety of habitats including wildflower meadows, woodland, duck ponds and the river provides for a range of wildlife and people. Two play parks will get the kids excited and a variety of paths around the site ensure exercise for all! Why not try out the range of outdoor gym equipment or pay a visit to the leisure facilities at the Sixmile Leisure Centre? A few minutes walk takes you into the centre of Ballyclare, where you can find a range of shops and cafes.
This rural site is managed by the Council with significant input from local volunteers. Visit in the spring to see the array of spring bulbs planted by local volunteers. The colour is fantastic and provides the sign of spring everyone longs for!
Mill Race Trail
The Mill Race Trail is a site of importance for industrial heritage and wildlife. Follow way markers and information panels as they tell the story of the Six Mile Water and its importance to the local area.
This urban park in Templepatrick provides local people and visitors with the opportunity to enjoy some fresh air, get some exercise or relax in this well maintained park. As well as an exciting play park and outdoor fitness equipment, a number of projects have been developed at this site to enhance the area for biodiversity.
Rashee Cemetery is split into two sections – old and new. The new section is fully operational and maintained to a very high standard with significant improvements for wildlife including hedgerow management and creation of living fences. The old section is an adventure in itself. A tangle of mature trees, headstones and regular seasonal changes make this site a pleasure to visit year round. Particularly beautiful are the ancient bluebells that provide a dazzling display of colour and marks the start of the summer! A magical place to visit and perfect to create a story book adventure.
Ballyeaston Church Ruin – Community Site
This site demonstrates true community dedication with all maintenance carried out by a team of volunteers from the village. Truly passionate about the site, opportunities to learn more and enhance for wildlife are continually pursued. Used for wedding photos and music events – a true community gem!