Skip to main content

Where are you going this weekend?

Time 4 min read · September 05, 2019

Getting into nature golden leaves

Where are you going this weekend, to a green space, country park, nature reserve, town or city? Find out why

Why should you visit a country park or nature reserve?

There’s one near you

They’re free.

Let’s just get this out of the way first. They’re free to enter and free to park. You don’t need to join a club or pay a subscription. They are just free.

These places are owned and managed by the government and therefore we get to benefit from them ‘managing the land’ on our behalf.

We think they’re brilliant!

No two are the same. Whether it’s the view of Strangford Lough from Scrabo, or the history of Castle Archdale each one provides a different experience. If you go in the next few weeks, you’ll see the leaves starting to change colour.  If you haven’t been before, you are in for a treat. What are you waiting for?

They’re jam packed with plants and wildlife.

We spotted a ‘common lizard’ in Peatlands; deer in Quoile; and a 400 year old Oak tree in Castle Archdale. Never mind the countless species of birds that make their homes on the parks and reserves and the bees that feed on the wild flower meadows. What will you discover?

They are important.

Parts of them have also been designated as Special Areas of Conservation.
This means they are home to special habitats or species which are of importance to biodiversity both on a national and international scale.
If you visit Peatlands Park, you’ll discover the largest bog in Northern Ireland. The bog has been growing for over 10,000 years and supports a diverse range of wildlife.

They’re good for you.

We all know the great outdoors is good for our health and mental wellbeing. So why not plan a visit to one of our parks and reserves? You can bring friends and family and enjoy a picnic or come by yourself and enjoy the sounds of nature. Either way, we think you’ll go home happier.

Where are you going this weekend and what can you do?

Simply visit a park or nature reserve. When you go, take a picture and share it on social media with Get Into Nature or tag us on social media.

Tell your friends and family how much you enjoyed your visit and hopefully more of us will benefit from these great parks and reserves on our doorsteps.

What are Special Areas of Conservation and where are they?

Dot Blakely bird watching club

Dot Blakely bird watching club getting ready for the weekend


Ian Matchett two West Highland White Terrier out this weekend

Ian Matchett frequent visitors, two West Highland White Terrier out for a day trip this weekend

Find out more

Our bird watching club, NDBWC, is based at Crawfordsburn Country Park. If you’d like try it out, we meet on the last Thursday of the month at 10:15. We find the NIEA staff to be very helpful and enjoy the café.

Peatlands Park is a haven of rest and relaxation, away from the busyness and stress of modern living. Somewhere to unwind, get close to nature, enjoy the sights and smells of a well kept and managed park.

What facilities do they have?

Facilities vary from site to site but each site has free parking, toilets, paths suitable for all abilities and of course the great outdoors. Check out the links below for more information on each site.

Where are you going this weekend and where will you visit first?

A variety of walks along the lough shore passing the deer park enclosure, wildfowl ponds, wildflower meadow and butterfly garden. There is also a family cycle trail waymarked around the park.

This scenic and tranquil park is situated on the coast between Bangor and Holywood. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking walks through peaceful meadows and if you are lucky you may be able to catch a glimpse of the stunning waterfall.

Ness Country Park is a steep, wooded Glen of the Burntollet River, south-east of Derry/Londonderry and lies in Ness Country park. This area consists of 55 hectares of mixed woodland along with open parkland which extends along both sides of the Burntollet River, it even boasts a stunning waterfall.

Peatlands Park is a beautiful area and has a wonderful wilderness appeal which is situated near the shores of Lough Neagh just off the M1 at exit 13 south of Dungannon. Visitors will be able to experience both peatland and woodland habitats in addition to taking in the amazing views of the wildlife.

If you love bird watching there are plenty of excellent opportunities for visitors both from the riverside path and at the bird hide overlooking the brackish pondage, which was created from the formerly known marine estuary in 1957.

Places like Redburn Country Park, which is set on a beautiful escarpment above Belfast Lough. There are 7km of pathways and energetic visitors who are able to climb to the top. It will be worth it as you will be able to see the spectacular, breath-taking and panoramic views of Belfast and the south Antrim hills.

Roe Valley Country Park is a scenic and tranquil park, which is located on the outskirts of Limavady and offers spectacular riverside views and woodland walks along with opportunities for salmon and trout fishing, canoeing, rock climbing and orienteering.

This picturesque country park provides a natural and relaxing retreat to visitors. For those who enjoy walking, they can go and experience walks to the beech and hazel woodlands of Killynether. During Springtime, the woodland floor is carpeted with bluebells and wood anemones.

This campaign is supported by

NIEA and DAERA logos

NIEA and DAERA logos

Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Climate Heroes

If you are a ‘Climate Hero’ with products, information or services that can help others; or if you have an inspirational climate story to tell, get in touch with us

Talk to us

Take action today!

We hope, you’ll share our passion for the environment and want to do something to give the planet a helping hand yourself. We want to inspire you to get curious about and get involved with actions that will be good for nature, our local habitats and species, for ourselves and ultimately for our planet.

Get involved