Feeling down? Sluggish? Want to shed a bit of weight? Well the Belfast Hills Partnership is offering a prescription with a difference this summer – go alfresco with this year’s Heritage Festival!


The benefits of not simply doing exercise, but getting outside into nature are well documented. Experts cite a host of benefits including:  increased happiness, concentration, faster healing and vitamin D levels increase, helping fight conditions from osteoporosis and cancer to depression and heart attacks.


This year’s Belfast Hills Heritage Festival has a strong health theme, encouraging adults and children alike to vacate the sofa and get active! There is Dance-fit fun on Divis Mountain, orienteering on Cave Hill, a volunteering task at Belfast Castle grounds and a Parkrun at Colin Glen. For those wanting to ease themselves more gently into the great outdoors there are two different bus trips, plus a picnic & nature walk at Ballyaghagan and a pollination themed visit to Slievenacloy. For the kids we are also visiting the Gruffalo in the deep dark wood of Colin Glen with a wildlife themed stroll. Finally for those really up for a challenge we will be hiking 10 miles across the Belfast Hills from Ligoniel to Carnmoney Hill and beyond to Hazelwood Park on the Lough Shore – now that one will really give you bragging rights!


Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund the festival aims to attract all ages, communities and ethnic groups to experience all the health benefits that the Belfast Hills have to offer.


Lizzy Pinkerton Scheme Manager at the Belfast Hills Partnership said “according to one government estimate, the average person spends 90% of his or her life indoors, and as we get older we become even more inclined not to venture out. We want to help redress the balance and get people enjoying their local green spaces through this year’s Belfast Hills Heritage Festival”.


“We want to get individuals and families up into the hills and show them what is on offer. So if it has been years since you visited the Belfast Hills or if you have never ventured there, this is definitely the time to do so. We hope the festival will encourage people to become aware that this outdoor area is there to enjoy, cherish and protect.”


For details go to www.belfasthills.org/events, email [email protected] or call 02890 603 466.dancefit