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Everyone’s invited to the Belfast Hills Heritage Festival. The first ever Belfast Hills Heritage Festival kicks off from July 2 to 8 with a week of fun, frolics, tours and amazing events brought through the mists of time. Hosted by the Belfast Hills Partnership, the festival will feature walking tours, old-time bus runs, traditional games, a treasure hunt and fair and a summer murder mystery that is sure to captivate and enthrall. The programme of events will recall how we lived and worked during the Great War, the roaring twenties, the hungry thirties and the wartime forties in the Belfast Hills. Landscape Partnership Manager Lizzy Pinkerton said the festival was a bright new dawn for the Belfast Hills. “The aim of the festival is to enable people to enter into the full Belfast Hills experience with everything the hills have to offer from the academic side of our heritage to the fun, family events, murder mystery and movie barge cinema. “All the heritage on offer relates directly to the communities in the area of the Belfast Hills. “Our massive festival kicks off the

See inside for full programme of events!

start of our Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership Scheme with a bang. “If it’s been years since you’ve visited the Belfast Hills or if you’ve never ventured there, then this is the time to do so,” she said. “We are also delighted to secure funding from the Rural Development Programme which is helping to pay for the festival and keeping prices free or subsidised. “Thousands of people live in the city below and we want them to experience what is their legacy and their hills. We hope it will encourage people to become aware that the area is something to enjoy, cherish and protect.” For event details log onto, email or call 02890 603 466.

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The Belfast Hills Partnership expressed dismay after arsonists set fire to Cave Hill less than 48 hours after a wildlife survey recorded hundreds of species. The Partnership had hosted the Belfast City Council-funded BioBlitz at the end of May. Hundreds of species – including rare and important plants and animals – were recorded in the bioblitz. The area was earmarked for the study due to its abundance of wildlife including badgers, bats, Irish hares, birds of prey and insects. A rare plant (mossy saxifrage) was recorded. The Réal's wood white butterfly was also a great find at the site. As part of the event a heath land survey walk was undertaken over the actual site that later suffered damage in the blaze that affected three acres of McArt’s Fort. Jim Bradley, Belfast Hills Partnership Manager said the area of Cave Hill had suffered repeated attacks with devastating effects. “It is particularly dismaying that we were up on Cave Hill recording about 400 species - confirming how vital and important this wildlife site is,” he said. “Of course we say again that lighting fires poses a real danger for people using the Belfast Hills and also for those setting the fires - especially with cliff edges present in Cave Hill Country Park. “We wish to thank everyone for their quick response in phoning into the emergency services about this fire, and to the Fire and Rescue Service for their prompt attendance and bringing this blaze under control. “In conjunction with Belfast City Council we have just erected a fire card dispenser at Belfast Castle which explains what to do when a fire is spotted.”

root at a new Belfast There’s a whole lotta allotment fun taking llan. City Council community garden at Ballysi of the allotments Glorious sunshine greeted the opening med from a rundown recently – a space that has been transfor fresh food. The plot to a community garden growing y Conservation Volunteers and Salvation Arm eme are spearheading the three-year sch al which will deliver a variety of horticultur programmes, training and events.

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Welcome to our newest crop of staff who will be delivering our Heritage Lottery - funded Landscape Partnership Scheme for the Belfast Hills. Our new outreach and projects officers are Jo Boylan and David Scott. Both have come to us from Lagan Valley Regional Park and we’re delighted to have such exemplary people onboard who are at the top of their game in

delivering landscape partnership projects. They are the final part of a five-member team who will be delivering the £1.8 million initiative at the Belfast Hills Partnership. Jo said she was looking forward to working with the communities in and around the Belfast Hills and bringing the wonderful resource of the hills to the people living close by.

David who has lots of experience in similar schemes, said he was amazed at the potential for the hills in the future and was eager to get started in improving the landscape of the Belfast Hills.

The Belfast Hills has entered the world of radio hamming thanks to a Whiteabbey radio operator who took to Divis Mountain to communicate with the world of wireless. Our own Marconi radio hammer Peter Martin was taking part in a global scheme to promote shortwave activities on the summits of the world. Summits on the Air (SOTA) is an award scheme for radio amateurs and shortwave listeners that encourages portable radio operation on mountains. The scheme is designed for all ages and not just for mountaineers. The activity involves activators who ascend the summits. Chasers either operate from home, a local hilltop or with activators on other summits. SOTA is now fully operational in countries around the world. Each summit earns the activators and chasers a score which is related to the height of the summit. Certificates are available for scores, leading to the prestigious "Mountain Goat" and "Shack Sloth" trophies. To get involved go to See the video of Peter on Divis on our facebook page.

Get signed up to our E-Newsletter To receive updates and events go to and click on ‘sign up for our E-Newsletter’. Become our Friend! - Why not support the Partnership by becoming a Friend of the Belfast Hills? Get free entry to most events and enjoy other benefits for just £10 a year. Details are on our homepage. We’re at ‘Belfast Hills Partnership’ on Facebook, ‘Belfast Hills’ on Twitter and ‘Belfasthills’ on YouTube!

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Wolves, Hounds and Legends Wednesday 4 July, 2.30–4.30pm Cost: FREE The gothic setting of Clotworthy House is the location for this storytelling odyssey into the Belfast Hills. Children and families can take part in this engaging journey of the imagination that tells dramatic tales of folklore and fable. Book early to avoid disappointment!

History in the Heart of the Hills History in the Heart of the Hills Mon 2 July, 10am – 12.30pm Butterflies, Birds and the Bronze Age Tues 3 July, 1am - 1pm Go Potty for Prehistoric Pottery Tues 3 July, 2 – 4pm Flying Machines & Secrets of the Sentry Wed 4 July, 10am – 4pm Wolves, Hounds & Legends Wed 4 July, 2.30 – 4.30pm Brief History of Divis & Black Mountain Thurs 5 July, 11am – 1pm River Barge Movie Theatre Thurs 5 July, 7.30pm On the buses, Heritage Tour Fri 6 July, 10am – 4pm Murder Most Foul, Murder Mystery - Fri 6 July, 7pm Treasure Trail & Fun Day Sat 7 July, 11am – 4pm The Black Bull of Colin Glen Sun 8 July, 11am – 1pm

Murder Most Foul! Murder Mystery of the Belfast Hills

*Booking required

Friday 6th July, 7.00pm Cost: £12 Investigate this hot summer night murder mystery that promises intrigue, drama and dastardly deeds revealed. This whodunit has a cast of lively characters from the past. Join them for supper in the elegant surroundings of the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum.

Butterflies, Birds and the Bronze Age at Slievenacloy

To book for this event contact the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum on 02892 663 377.

Monday 2 July 10.00am-12.30pm Cost: FREE Join us in Belfast Castle – our heritage HQ – for a series of talks from local history and archaeology experts. Have tea and hot buttered scones before a guided walk in the afternoon to discover some of the hidden historical treasures of Cave Hill.

Tuesday 3 July, 11am–1pm Cost: FREE Enjoy a guided walk around this old farmstead, now one of the Hills’ best nature reserves and teeming with orchids and butterflies. Slievenacloy is rich in archaeology with Bronze Age cairns as well as a beautifully preserved old lime kiln. Wear suitable clothing and sturdy footwear. The walk is not suitable for children aged 8 and under. *Booking Required

A Brief History of Divis and Black Mountain Thursday 5th July, 11am – 1pm Cost: FREE Find out about the development of Belfast from a Hills’ perspective, its legacy and learn about the influence of settlement, its rise and fall in population, habitat and farming changes and the future predictions for its management. *Book now as places are limited!

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Thousands of native trees have taken root as part a new hedgerow initiative led by the Belfast Hills Partnership. Volunteers, the public and staff helped create a wildlife corridor stretching for more than 800 metres and encompassing over 5,000 trees during a community event at Ballycolin Road. Youngsters and people of all ages got down and dirty to learn the traditional skills of native hedgerow planting. Spades were at the ready as hawthorn, oak, alder, willow and rowan got planted as part of the scheme to improve wildlife habitat in the Belfast Hills.

The planting will bring birds and pollinating insects into the area, improve the look of the landscape, and give shelter for livestock. The event was funded by the Northern Ireland Environment Links (NIEL) Challenge Fund

and supported by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. This work was part of our farmland grant scheme which forms an important part of landscape scale work being undertaken by the Belfast Hills Partnership.

People have been out and enjoying our recent events in the Belfast Hills. Our Half Moon Lake tour was a great day out, the bus tour a resounding success and our Titanic walk on Cave Hill and the BioBlitz proving very popular. There’s so much more going on with the upcoming Heritage Festival. But if you’re not about for that there’s the ever-popular berry picking evening on Cave Hill and our kite flying day out on Divis – both events being great days out for all the family. Contact or call 02890 603 466 to find out more about our events or go to

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Hidden Half Moon Lake launches into orbit There have been moonbeams of interest in a little known ‘Half Moon Lake’ in the heart of a sprawling urban area in west Belfast. Hailed as an oasis in the heart of Belfast’s housing sprawl and until recently known only to the few people living near it, the deeply secluded lake sits nestled in the middle of a residential area like a secret garden. But now schoolchildren (pictured enjoying a bird study) and other people have been orbiting the crescent-shaped waterway and wildlife oasis in the middle of Lenadoon. Belfast City Council and the wider Lenadoon community have been improving the site that’s now a secret hub for people to visit and enjoy.

The former mill pond which used to power machinery at the old linen factory on the Suffolk Road, has reopened for community recreation and education. It is set amid two acres of woodland containing footpaths, environmentally-themed art pieces, benches and information panels. There is a programme of events planned for the year if you’d like to get involved. Just contact 02890 615 319, email or or log onto moon lake belfast.

Fond farewell to Ruby Kirkland It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of our dedicated volunteer Ruby Kirkland recently. Ruby carried out sterling work in the administration department of the Belfast Hills Partnership and she will be sorely missed by all the team. Ruby

passed away at Easter and for such a youthful woman, it was a great shock to her family and friends. She had worked at the Partnership for five years and in that time had been a reliable linchpin of the office. Ruby will always be remembered for her wit, intelligence and sense of adventure. As well as losing Ruby, two stalwarts of the Belfast Hills passed away in May. Hall Fraser was a farmer at Glencairn whose family

had farmed on the slopes of Black Mountain for generations. Hall was a great voice on behalf of those farming the fringes of the hills. Tom Lovett was another who worked tirelessly for his local community in Ligoniel as part of the Ligoniel Improvement Association. Both men played their part in pointing the way forward for the hills and how important it was for all to be involved. These are all sad losses for the Belfast Hills.

It’s your Belfast Hills: The Partnership brings together statutory bodies with a role to play in the Belfast Hills, including Belfast, Lisburn, Newtownabbey and Antrim councils. These representatives are joined by people from the farming, community, commercial, recreation and environmental sectors. All have pledged to work together to benefit the Belfast Hills. Charity No: XR70288 Company No: NI053189 Address: 9 Social Economy Village, Hannahstown Hill, Belfast, BT17 OXS T: 028 9060 3466 • F: 028 9030 9867 • E: • Funders of the Belfast Hills Partnership

NEWCREATION Design Tel: 028 38 321 255


The summer edition of the Belfast Hills newsletter.