Size:

8.86 ha (21.89 acres)

Grid reference:

J414894

Map reference:

Explorer NULL

OS Landranger 15

Explore this enchanting little woodland glen and you’ll come across fascinating birdlife, sculptures of mythical creatures peering from the trees, and reminders of its past as the gardens of a Victorian country house. Surfaced paths provide easy access for all abilities, and it’s just 15 minutes’ walk from town.

Features

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

How to get to Oakfield Glen

The 9-hectare (22-acre) Oakfield Glen sits on the western edge of the town of Carrickfergus in County Antrim, about 18km (11 miles) north-east of Belfast. The woodland runs along Sullatober Burn, a small river, and is surrounded by parkland.

From Belfast, take the M5 towards Carrickfergus. At the first roundabout in Carrickfergus, take the first exit, sign-posted North Road and Railway Station. Continue under the railway bridge and past the golf club on the right.

At the end of North Road, take a right turn onto the B90 Marshallstown Road. After approximately 600m turn right onto Oakfield Drive and you will see the car park on your left hand-side as you go around a right-hand bend.

The nearest train station is Carrickfergus.

Visit Translink for more information.

There are bus stops on Oakfield Drive and Prince Andrew Way, a short distance from the wood.

Visit Translink for more information.

Facilities and access

There are six entrances to Oakfield Glen:

  • Four off Oakfield Drive – three kissing gates and a set of steps.
  • One kissing gate off Prince Andrew's Way.
  • One squeeze-post entrance coming from the council-managed Bashfordsland Wood.

A 3km (2-mile) network of wide concrete paths provides easy access for all abilities. One path crosses the burn with the aid of four stone culverts and a long metal bridge in the centre of the glen.

There are two unofficial car parking areas at either end of the woodland. Parking is also available at the community centre on Oakfield Drive and in the housing estate.

Toilets are available in the Oakfield community centre (when open) and for paying customers in cafés and pubs in Carrickfergus.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

Listen out for the beautiful birdsong of the chiffchaff and the willow warbler, and keep your eyes to the sky for the chance to spot a sparrowhawk or buzzard wheeling overhead.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

Dominant laurel trees have been cut back to allow ash and ground flora to regenerate. In January 2000, a mix of 12,000 native tree species – ash, wild cherry, rowan, hazel, oak, wych elm and Scots pine – were planted over five hectares (12 acres).

Look outfor:

Habitats

From mature native trees to newly planted woodland groves and open wildflower meadows, Oakfield Glen provides an abundance of habitats along the river corridor.

Explore:

History of Oakfield Glen

Oakfield, Bessfield and Glenfield were Victorian estates which met at what is now Oakfield Glen. The wood was once the garden of a country residence built in 1805. The main house was demolished in the 1950s, and other Victorian houses and a water mill were knocked down in the 1960s to make way for housing. However, remnants of the old estates remain.

Oakfield Glen was acquired by us in 1999 as part of the Woods on Your Doorstep project with help from local industry and the people of Carrickfergus. The community has since been involved in the development of new woodland on the site.

In 2007, we partnered with Carrickfergus Council to plant fields and upgrade paths, in order to create community woodland that buffers Oakfield Glen with Bashfordsland Wood.

In 2011, HRH The Princess Royal planted a tree at Oakfield Glen to mark the launch of the Trust‘s Jubilee Woods project. Pupils from nearby Oakfield Primary School also helped with the planting of a grove of 60 native trees.

Stone bridge over rock-filled stream, Oakfield Glen

Credit: Big Glass Eye Photography / WTML

Archaeology

An ice house has been uncovered and restored on the site, and there are also visible remains of cottages and a millrace (a channel conducting water to a waterwheel).

The 14 Irish yews and a weir waterfall which sit beside the gravel path and below the metal bridge date from the time Oakfield Glen was part of a Victorian estate. You will also find some exotic specimen trees, including a coast redwood.

Things to do in Oakfield Glen

Walking

The wood’s 3km (2-mile) network of wide, surfaced paths is perfect for a relaxing stroll. Look out for buzzards gliding and soaring above you, and sparrowhawks performing their aerial acrobatics, as well as smaller birds, such as bullfinch, willow warbler and meadow pipit.

You’ll also spot some steel sculptures of Púca - mischievous, fairy-like creatures from Irish folklore - peering at you from their hiding places in the trees. And if you or the kids need to burn off some excess energy, you can head for the site’s green gym.

Oakfield Glen - Management plan

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Oakfield Glen Management Plan

PDF  (125 KB)