WalkNI.com Your definitive guide to walking in Northern Ireland

Ancient Tree Hunt Walk


The Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Hunt is heading for Belfast this September.  With similar events in London, Glasgow and Cardiff revealing a wealth of ancient trees on city dwellers’ doorsteps, the Trust is now calling for Belfast’s oldest trees to stand up and be counted.

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park has been chosen as the venue for the Belfast celebration. Hosted by the Woodland Trust and Belfast City Council, nature lovers are invited to discover the beauty of the Park and its treasure trove of ancient trees on Sunday 26 September, from 1 to 5pm.

Children will enjoy games, treasure hunts, and a whole range of crafts.  With the help of professional artists, they’ll create creepy-crawlies using natural woodland materials, tree lanterns and tree masks - all free of charge.

And, having heard what the experts have to say, there will be a rare opportunity to listen to the trees! Using headphones suspended from the branch of a tree, artist Alex Metcalf will offer visitors the chance to listen to some internal goings-on: to be more precise the sound of the water moving up through the xylem tubes, just behind the bark.

Patrick Cregg, the Trust’s Northern Ireland director, says: “This really is a special opportunity to explore Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in its full autumnal glory.  You’ll discover some fantastic veteran trees, while youngsters will enjoy a wealth of hands-on creative crafts.

“Our oldest trees rustle with both history and wildlife, yet often lack the recognition they deserve.  We want to promote an awareness and appreciation of these unsung treasures.  And we’re stressing that our oldest trees could be closer than you think.  Urban dwellers don’t necessarily have to head to country estates; simply keep a look out in your nearest park, or even in your street.”

The Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Hunt is a five-year project to record at least 100,000 of the UK’s oldest trees by 2011. The website already has records of more than 69,000 ancient, veteran and notable trees, including over 3,000 in Northern Ireland.

The Trust is appealing for volunteer recorders in Northern Ireland to join its tree hunt. Simply visit the Ancient Tree Hunt website, which is packed with tips for tree hunters, including how to recognise an ancient tree, measure its girth and how to identify different species. Find out more and get recording at www.AncientTreeHunt.org.uk

Everyone is welcome on 26 September; but children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Entrance to Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park is via Upper Malone Road.  For further details telephone the Trust’s office on 028 9127 5787.

For more information, click here.