If you go down to Oakfield Glen on Saturday 4 April, you’re sure of a big Easter surprise!

Bring your little bunnies along to our new interactive Easter trail at Oakfield Glen, just on the outskirts of Carrickfergus. Here your little ones can:

  • play freely and safely in Mother Nature’s playground
  • learn how to measure trees and identify mini beasts
  • find out how trees communicate with one another in their own world-wide-wood!

As you follow the Easter Trail through this enchanting woodland glen, you’ll come across fascinating birdlife, sculptures of mythical creatures peering from the trees, and reminders of its past as the gardens of a grand Victorian Estate. From mature native trees, including 14 Irish yews and an exotic giant redwood, to newly-planted woodland groves and open wildflower meadows, Oakfield Glen provides an abundance of habitats along the river corridor.

An ice house was uncovered as the Woodland Trust began to restore and care for the site in 1999, and there are also visible remains of cottages and a millrace. Take a walk on any day at Oakfield Glen and you are likely to encounter friendly dog walkers, nature lovers and perhaps be lucky enough to see a fox quickly brush past. Oakfield Glen is an explorer’s dream, and an exciting playground for young families. The interactive Easter Trail also provides a chance to come along and see the recent improvements, as they include improved parking facilities and newly surfaced paths for easy access.

The Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity, began its tenure at Oakfield Glen by planting a mix of 12,000 native trees in January 2000. The species included ash, wild cherry, rowan, hazel, oak, wych elm and Scots pine, and were planted over five hectares (12 acres) as part of a millennium project, Woods on Your Doorstep. The project aimed to create outdoor recreational spaces for local communities, improving air and water quality as added benefits, and this year we look forward to  celebrating the 20th anniversary of looking after Oakfield Glen.

To date over 20,000 native trees have been planted in Oakfield Glen and the adjoining Bashfordsland Wood, which is managed by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. The Woodland Trust and the council continue to collaborate to open up the woodland for public access and recreation.

The ponds in Bashfordsland Wood are alive with freshwater inhabitants, including frog spawn and tadpoles. The ponds have such good water quality that they provide a precious refuge for our native waterborne wildlife, like iridescent damselflies and dragonflies.

Engagement officer Michelle McCaughtry said:

“We have designed a brand new interactive trail at Oakfield Glen. This is perfect for everyone, a wonderful day of fun and a great opportunity to get your little ones away from their screens and get some good fresh air in this beautiful woodland.”

Ian McCurley, Woodland Trust Northern Ireland Director said:

“We want to encourage local communities to enjoy the woods on their doorsteps. We continue to create opportunities and unique events for local people to get involved with their local woods and Easter trails are the perfect incentive to visit Oakfield Glen.”

Entry fee, which is £6 per child and £2 per accompanying adult, includes activities along the interactive trail and a chocolate treat to bring home.

Book ahead to secure your place on the trail at https://woodlandtrusttickets.cloudvenue.co.uk/easteroakfield

Notes to editors

For media enquiries contact:

Glynis Watt at the Woodland Trust’s Northern Ireland Office on 028 9127 5787 or  glyniswatt@woodlandtrust.org.uk

Or the Woodland Trust Press Office on 01476 581121 or media@woodlandtrust.org.uk

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims: 

  1. protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable
  2. restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life
  3. plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,200 sites in its care covering approximately 29,000 hectares. Access to its woods is free so everyone can benefit from woods and trees.

Here in Northern Ireland the Woodland Trust cares for 50 woods.  These woods contain a mix of recently planted woodland, mature woodland and ancient woodland.  The Trust has produced the first-ever comprehensive record of Northern Ireland’s ancient woodland; find out more at Northern Ireland Ancient Woodland Inventory.