A staggering half a million hikes are now undertaken each year in the Belfast Hills and with our popularity among users at an all time high, we brought Belfast Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon to Belfast Castle to launch The Belfast Hills Partnership’s recreation guide.
The 40-page publication promotes the availability of walking, running, cycling, orienteering, geocaching and other outdoor activities in the Belfast Hills. It shows how to access the public sites and includes maps, trails, grades of walks and cycling routes.
It also aims to encourage healthy activities for users of the hills as well as family fun in the outdoors.
The Heritage Lottery Fund, Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), DARD and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland are among the agencies that funded the booklet.
Partnership manager Jim Bradley said the guide would go a long way in helping promote the health of the people living in Belfast, Lisburn and in areas such as Newtownabbey and Antrim and urged people not to be put off by the term ‘hills’.
“A wide range of paths and routes are available – from a virtually flat 400 metre path at Carnmoney Hill pond, to hiking the seven-mile boundaries of Divis and the Black Mountain across blanket bog and upland health with elevations up to 377 metres (1,236ft),” he said.
“Getting the people of Belfast into this area of outstanding beauty, and promoting the health benefits of the great outdoors, form key aims of the Partnership. The guide also promotes sustainable tourism and we hope it will help the many visitors to the city coming to view the views from the Belfast Hills.”
Lord Mayor Mallon described the Belfast Hills as “iconic”.
“The hills around Belfast provide an iconic view of the city and they are a major attraction for locals and visitors alike,” she said.
“Whether it is that first glimpse of Napoleon’s nose as the ferry glides up Belfast Lough or the marvellous views provided by Divis and Black mountains, their environmental beauty calls to a wide audience who regularly hike or bike them. This guide, which encourages even more people to enjoy their attractions in a responsible and environmentally considerate way, will prove very valuable.”
The guide can be picked up from libraries, local tourist offices in the area of the Belfast Hills, Visit Belfast or by contacting the Belfast Hills Partnership on 02890 603 466 or [email protected]