Size:

21.23 ha (52.46 acres)

Grid reference:

J340827

Map reference:

Explorer NULL

OS Landranger 15

With awe-inspiring views of the city, Belfast Lough and the coast, Carnmoney Hill is a must visit. Steeped in history and folklore with a mix of ancient woodland, floral grassland and wetland, it is home to a wealth of wildlife and has a wide range of walks to suit all abilities. With easy access from Belfast, and plenty of interest for keen flower and wildlife spotters as well as history buffs, Carnmoney Hill is a great destination for a day out.

Features

  • Parking nearby
  • Public access
  • Autumn colour
  • Spring flowers
  • Grassland
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Carnmoney Hill

The 80 hectare (198 acre) Carnmoney Hill sits on an elevated site overlooking Newtonabbey, 10km (6 miles) north of Belfast.

The Woodland Trust and Antrim and Newtonabbey Borough Council own most of the eastern side (a third of the hill). The crest and western two-thirds are privately owned.

From Belfast, take the M2 and then the M5. At the roundabout, follow the sign for Carrickfergus, then at the second roundabout take the first left to Glengormley. Go straight over the next two roundabouts and onto O'Neill Road. Continue up the hill and take the first right into Knockenagh Avenue. You will see the entrance to Carnmoney Hill on the left, where there is a lay-by.

The nearest train station is Whiteabbey, 4.3km (2.7 miles) from Carnmoney Hill.

Visit Translink for more information.

The 64A bus operates from Belfast City to O'Neill Road and the 2D/E/F from Shore Road in Belfast to Dough Road.

Visit Translink for more information.

Facilities and access

There are six access points to Carnmoney Hill. The main entrance is on the eastern slope of the hill on Knockenagh Avenue. There are two entrances to the south of the site, and two to the north, off Fernlea Lane.

There is free parking available in the lay-by close to the entrance to the wood.

There are toilets with disabled facilities in the community centre at the bottom of the site. These are available when the centre is open.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

A haven for birds and bird-lovers, Carnmoney Hill is rich in wildlife. Keep an eye out for not only birds, but invertebrates like dragonflies, and mammals like the fox and Irish hare.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

Carnmoney Hill is one of the largest native woodland creation projects in Northern Ireland. We planted 60,000 native trees to connect existing fragments of ancient woodland.

The wood is now rich in ground flora too: enjoy bluebells, primroses and dog violets in spring, and cornflower and red campion in summer.

Look out for:

Habitats

Carnmoney hill is the perfect place to discover a range of habitats. From lush, floral grassland to gnarled ancient woodland and boggy wetland.

Explore:

About Carnmoney Hill

History

There is a round earth mound called Dunanney Rath on the southern face of the hill. It is just one of many archaeological features - including stone-lined tunnels and kilns - in the landscape and is thought to date to 500BC.

The site was also where Lilian Bland, the first woman to build and fly her own aeroplane, set out on her first flight. She called the plane'Mayfly' because "It may or may not fly".

The wood also has a spooky past, being home to Mary Butters, the Carnmoney Witch who was put on trial for murder in 1818. It is also said that you might hear the ghostly wails of Mary Bodle, the sweetheart of rebel commander Henry Joy McCracken hanged in 1789.

Pathway down Carnmoney Hill towards Newtownabbey

Credit: Steven Kind / WTML

Restoration

Carnmoney Hill was declared a Local Nature Reserve in 1996, and a pond and scrapes (shallow areas) were created in 2003 to increase the biodiversity of the site. An orienteering trail was also installed in 2015.

Works, including path improvements, have been made possible thanks to support from Newtownabbey Borough Council, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Biffaward.

Early purple orchids

A lasting legacy

This wood is just one of many to have been protected by gifts in wills, securing it for generations to come. Your legacy gift could also make a real difference to woods, trees and wildlife.

Learn what your gift could mean

Things to do at Carnmoney Hill

Walking

There are several walking routes for you to explore in Carmoney Hill. Enjoy a gentle stroll along its lower reaches or a steep climb where you will be rewarded with spectacular views over the city and surrounding countryside.

Orienteering

Orienteering is a great outdoor activity suitable for all ages and abilities. With the help of a specially produced map, you find your way around a set course by visiting locations known as control posts. 

Download the leaflet

Carnmoney Hill - Management plan

Download

Carnmoney Hill Management Plan

PDF  (141 KB)