Home / Events 2017/2018 / Parks & Open Spaces Newsletter June 2018

Parks & Open Spaces Newsletter June 2018


Do you have a garden to be proud of? Have you been involved in a great community planting scheme?

If so, why not enter the Mid & East Antrim in Bloom community competitions! You can also enter a friend or neighbour’s garden that deserves recognition.

There are a range of categories including:

  • Best Kept Front Garden
  • Best Kept Front Container Garden
  • Best Kept Community Planting Scheme
  • Best Kept Allotment Garden
  • Best Kept Commercial Premises
  • Gardening for Wildlife Award

There are great prizes to be won and winners and runners up will be invited to a prize giving ceremony in October.

The closing date for entries is Friday 20 July 2018.

Entries can be returned to: Mid and East Antrim in Bloom, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, 11 Antrim Street, Carrickfergus, BT38 7DG
or emailed to: inbloom@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

To download an entry form please click here.


We are pleased to continue to support the Ulster in Bloom competition, now in its 40th year. Ulster in Bloom encourages everyone to work together to improve their own town or village. You can help out by planting up front gardens, tidying up, encouraging wildlife, or why not consider joining your local improvement group? If you are interested in joining your local improvement group please get in touch and we can refer you to the nearest group! Please click here.


We were delighted to be commended at the Garden Show Ireland this year. The theme was ‘Our Eco Landscapes’ with Mid and East Antrim’s entry focusing on native planting, promoting local biodiversity and celebrating local heritage and attractions. All the materials used in the Show Garden were recycled or locally sourced.

The Garden included Slemish, The Glens, The River Braid, The Gobbins and Eden Allotment Gardens, all in miniature form. The Garden also highlighted some of the important habitats in the Borough, from woodland to coast, and some of our amazing wildlife. All the materials from the Show Garden will be reused across the Borough, with many pieces being donated to community groups.

To find out more about key attractions in the Borough click here.


We are highlighting some of the fascinating wildlife in the Borough via the Creature Calendar which features one creature each month.

This month is the Swift.

These migrant birds return from their wintering grounds in Africa to the same spot in Northern Ireland each year to breed. Swifts nest in holes – old buildings, in gaps under roof tiles and eaves, or in specially designed swift boxes – so you’ll never see them building a nest outside. The swift is a superb flier, they even sleep on the wing! The best time to look for swifts is from dusk or dawn in June and July. We completed a swift survey across the Borough and found them at many locations including Carnlough, Glenarm, Larne, Whitehead, Ballymena, Cullybackey, Ahoghill, Portglenone and Kells – great news!

To celebrate the swift, there are series of swift walks this month. Please see below for more details.

Find out more about biodiversity in the Borough and download the Creature Calendar for free here.


Our ‘Friends Of’ groups complete a wide range of tasks such as nest box building, tree planting, river cleans, invasive species removal and wildflower planting. Our Friends Of groups are a great opportunity to get outside in the fresh air, meet likeminded people and learn new skills, all the while protecting and improving your local green space.

The Friends of Bashfordsland Wood & Oakfield Glen meet on the second Saturday of each month at Oakfield Community Centre, 10am (to 1pm).

The Friends of Larne Town Park meet on the third Saturday of each month at Chaine carpark, 2pm (to 4pm). *please note the Friends of Larne Town Park are taking a break for the summer*

The Friends of Ecos Nature Park meet on the third Saturday of each month at the Ecos Centre, 11am (to 1pm).


Attendees in Ahoghill saw a large number of swifts in the village this week, and there is still chance to join one of our swift walks this month. Walks are led by expert Aidan Crean and are scheduled for:
Wednesday 6 June, 7pm to 8.30pm, Glenarm, meeting at Glenarm Marina
Wednesday 13 June, 7pm to 8.30pm, Portglenone, meeting at Portglenone Marina


Find out why it’s so important to look after our beaches through storytelling and environmental activities, and meet a mermaid!
Saturday 9 June, 2pm to 3.30pm, Ballygally Beach. Spaces are limited so please book your place by contacting 028 9335 8235.


Meet some of Whitehead’s most famous residents – the Peregrines – on Sunday 10 June, 10am to 12noon, at Beach Road Nature Reserve.
Please bring binoculars and telescopes if you have them!


Fancy yourself as the next Bradley Wiggins or Laura Kenny? Then come along and make your mark against the other competitors at Street Velodrome, which will be pitching up in Broughshane Street Car Park, Ballymena, on Sunday 10 June, 11am to 6pm.

Street Velodrome brings all the excitement and drama of Olympic style track racing on an innovative pop up velodrome, complete with steep banked corners. Bikes, helmets and professional coaching is provided for all ages, so come along and have a go! There will also be a fantastic array of other activities including stallholders, cycling information, cycle related arts and urban street skills!

Street Velodrome is a project supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. For more information please contact:
Susan.Lynn@midandeastantrim.gov.uk / 028 933 58274


Find out what you can plant in your own garden which will provide food for bees, and sample some ‘beelicious’ products yourself.
Eden Allotment Gardens, Thursday 14 June, 6pm to 8pm, meeting at the community plot (A1). This event is open to allotment holders and interested members of the public.


The only Woollen Wood in Ireland returns to Diamond Jubilee Wood Whitehead this summer! Groups, schools and individuals have been busy knitting, crocheting and creating for the Woollen Woods, all of which will be showcased at the Grand Opening event on Saturday 16 June, 1pm to 4pm, Diamond Jubilee Wood. The theme this year is Alice in Wonderland and the wood will be full of fun activities including garden games, music, environmental activities, and Mad Hatter hat making!


Bioblitz comes to Larne! Get involved in 24 hours of science and nature at Jubilee Farm, Drumalis, Town Park and Larne Promenade. There is a full programme of activities from 5pm on Friday 22 June to 5pm on Saturday 23 June including a dawn chorus walk, nest box building, fossil hunt, seashore safari and a host of talks by experts in the field. For more information and for full programme details please click here.


They say life’s a beach, so why not come along to our Beach Bonanza on Sunday 24 June at Ballygally Beach, 11am to 4pm. Enjoy a range of water based activities and taster sessions including Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)*, Sea Kayaking*, Coastal Rowing*, Play Zone, Beach Sports Zone, Driftwood Art Workshops, Competitions and Scavenger Hunts! Sure to be a great day for all the family!

For all the information and booking details visit click here
For more information contact: 02893 358274 / 02893 358271

*Booking required and age restrictions may apply


Are you interested in learning new skills, meeting new friends and getting out into the fresh air? Then you may be interested in the Larne Dementia Friendly Garden. A dementia friendly space has been proven to be a valuable asset in the lives of dementia sufferers, and those who look after them. Research has shown that these gardens can reduce stress, anxiety, panic and confusion. Within this PEACE IV funded project we will be working with professional gardeners to plan, design and build a dementia friendly garden in Larne. This project is open to everyone, so please come along and hear more about it on Wednesday 13 June, 10.30am, at The Studio, Larne Leisure Centre.


You’ve heard of Couch to 5K, now sign up for Sofa to Saddle! Work with the professionals from Ballymena Road Club who will guide and encourage you to make the step up from sofa to saddle. This six week course will work towards a 25km bike ride, and give you the skills to carry out basic bike maintenance. Bikes and helmets are provided. This programme is suitable for all abilities and will commence in July, but early booking is advised as places are limited.
To book or for more information please contact susan.lynn@midandeastantrim.gov.uk / 07500999439


The Live Here Love Here Clean Coasts Week, supported by Coca-Cola, is running from 1 June to 10 June. This is a week of practical environmental action which takes place right across the North and South of the island and is an opportunity for volunteers to work together to help make our beaches and waterways beautiful. Could you get together with likeminded individuals and do your bit for our beautiful coastline this week? For more information click here.

Events 2017/2018, General News

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