Ulster Way A 625 mile (1000km) circular walking route in Northern Ireland

Belfast Hills map first in a generation

Nov
4
2014

The charting of thousands of acres in the Belfast Hills has produced the first complete map of the upland region in a generation.

The Belfast Hills Partnership, the conservation group behind the new Belfast Hills Map has uniquely combined Ordnance Survey (OS) data with local community knowledge.

It details newly-built paths through the hills, and many recently discovered or previously unmapped sites of heritage and archaeological interest.

Cartographers used aerial photography, land archives and painstaking on-the-ground field-testing by Belfast Hills Partnership staff, to produce the map. It is the only single publication that details the entire 11,000 acre (4,400 hectare) Belfast Hills area.

It points the way to all routes designed for public use, while showing where private land - not suitable for recreation - is located.

And when out walking, the map illustrates natural and built heritage as well as wildlife and habitat at the various sites.

The guide that cost £14,000 to publish, outlines the whole of the Belfast Hills area on one side, while showing the individual sites of Cave Hill, Slievenacloy and Carnmoney Hill in fine detail on the reverse.

It has been produced under a Landscape Partnership scheme and will be self-supporting, allowing for updates and reprints in the future.

Financial assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Rural Development Programme administered by the Lagan Rural Partnership, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Ulster Garden Villages, made the project possible.

The funding means the map can be sold at cost price of £4 with the money ploughed back into future production and editions.

David Scott, project officer with the Belfast Hills landscape partnership scheme said the new guide was essential kit for enjoying the hills.

He said:

“We are delighted to have produced this most detailed OS map in a generation. It means visitors to the Belfast Hills can now step out with confidence to discover areas they never knew existed or how to navigate.

“With new, reconstructed and established trails taking users to some of the most amazing views across beautiful countryside, alongside detailed parking, picnic areas and cafés, the map provides information to help people plan their walks for enjoyment in the outdoors and in safety.

“All proceeds go back into publishing the next edition so the map is self-sustaining allowing the Belfast Hills Partnership to keep developing and producing more. This is important as we continue to improve, build new paths and uncover hidden heritage features.”

Places where the maps can be bought include Visit Belfast Welcome Centre and Divis Coffee Barn on Divis Mountain.

It can also be ordered online (priced £4) at www.belfasthills.org, where all stockists are listed.

For more information, click here.