Size:

8.90 ha (21.99 acres)

Grid reference:

J345839

Map reference:

Explorer NULL

OS Landranger 15

Monkstown Wood was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 2007 and provides a calm green haven in a busy urban area in Newtownabbey Northern Ireland. Thanks to funding from Biffa Award and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council this little gem is undergoing a facelift. New and improved access pathways and way-markers will lead you through this quiet corner of nature. As you wander look out for four life-like oak sculptures and take in the beauty of the neighbouring river ? the stunning Three Mile Water.

Features

  • Parking at site
  • Public access
  • Autumn colour
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Monkstown Wood

Monkstown Wood is a 9-hectare (22-acre) woodland set between the industrial Nortel site of the Doagh Road and Monkstown housing estate in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland.

It sits in a wooded river valley with the Three Mile Water running along its northern boundary.

From Belfast, head north onto the M2 until it becomes the M5. Follow the M5 to Newtownabbey. At the roundabout, turn left onto the A2 (Shore Road), before turning right to join the B59 (Doagh Road). Continue on Doagh Road, and you will see the wood on the right-hand side.

The nearest train station is Mossley West, about 0.8km (0.5 miles) from Monkstown Wood.

Visit National Rail for more information.

The nearest bus stop is at Wilson’s Factory, a short distance from the wood.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Access and facilities

There are four entrances to Monkstown Wood, including a kissing gate and two openings next to the industrial estate and Hurtle Tout Lane. Each of these is linked to Doagh Road, along the site’s southern edge.

Though there is no circular trail around the woodland, there is a 2km (1.2 miles) permissive path and a bridleway running through it. The path is well-managed and relatively flat, accessible for a range of abilities.

A small gravel car park is located just off Monkstown Road (look out for the large leaf sculptures).

The nearest toilets are at Mossley Mill, close to Mossley West railway station. Accessible toilets and baby changing facilities are available.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

During spring and summer, the canopy is full of song, with song thrush, chaffinch and willow warbler proclaiming their presence. In winter and early spring, listen out for great tit, blackbird and robin piercing the cold air with their joyful tunes. Look out for otters at any time of year, sweeping though the river as they hunt for fish and small birds.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

Once a patchwork of grazed fields, Monkstown Wood now boasts a glorious mix of grassland and mature and newly planted woodland. The areas of mature woodland date back to the 1800s and make up around half of the site. The new trees link the areas of mature woodland, extending the habitat.

Look out for:

Habitats

From grassland to woodland, the habitats of Monkstown Wood are home to a wealth of wildlife.

Explore:

About Monkstown Wood

The site, once seven large agricultural fields, was leased by the Housing Executive in late 1999 to the Woodland Trust for a period of 999 years. The fields were grazed until 2000 until we planted them with 8,000 trees between 2000 and 2004.

Archaeology

Explore the east of the site to find the remains of a farm, water mill and mill race among the vegetation. The buildings have long since been knocked down and the race filled in, but you can still see the eastern boundary they formed, while metal pipes surface at the river’s weir.

Rock-filled stream flowing through Monkstown Wood

Credit: Grainne Mathews / WTML

Folklore

According to tradition, in the fifth century, Fergus Mor – king of the Gaelic kingdom of Dalriada – left his home in north Antrim and colonised Argyll and Kintyre. He became the first king of Scottish Dalriada, uniting Scotland and Ireland. It is often said he was the fabled founder of Scotland.

He died while on his way back to visit his lands in Ireland, and is reputed to be buried at Monkstown.

Dedication bench at Watkins Wood

Dedicate at this wood

This wood is one of more than 50 across the UK where it's possible to dedicate trees, benches or larger areas of woodland. Mark a special occasion or celebrate the life of a loved one with a meaningful gesture that lasts. 

Choose a dedication

Things to do at Monkstown Wood

Monkstown Wood - Management plan

Download

Monkstown Wood Management Plan

PDF  (126 KB)