Walk this way in Ballymoney!

BALLYMONEY Borough Council in association with the Bank of Ireland is pleased to announce an exciting new Countryside Walks Programme for 2013.

This year, there are four countryside walk events and four biodiversity themed events, something for everyone! Costs have been kept to a minimum with six events FREE of charge and refreshments will be available at most walks.

The events begin in May with an opportunity to try out Nordic Walking, a technique growing in popularity and run until 21 September with a Slieveanorra Ramble to celebrate “Get Outdoors” weekend. Four events have limited numbers and require booking so hurry and phone early to secure your place by calling 028 276 60227. All participants should wear waterproof sturdy boots or shoes and dress warmly in layers. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun. The list of events includes;

COUNTRYSIDE WALKS - Join Sonya Crawford, Countryside Access Officer on these popular walks and explore nature on your very own doorstep or try something different, such as Nordic Walking, to kick-start a healthy regime.

BALLYMONEY GOES NORDIC – Two 4- week taster sessions, Wednesdays 10am-12pm, Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre. Course 1: May 8, 15, 22 & 29. Course 2: June 5, 12, 19 & 26.

This is a unique opportunity to learn the basics of Nordic walking, an exciting outdoor walking technique using specially designed walking poles. Nordic walking burns on average 20% more calories than normal walking at the same speed, plus most people find it makes walking more comfortable. More calories, less effort!

Numbers are limited to 12 persons per course, pre-booking required. Poles will be made available for this event. Cost: £2 per person per session. Refreshments available.

Assembly point: Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre, Garryduff Rd at 10am

CRAIGS WOOD/BROAD STONE WALK – Wednesday 26 June, 7-9.30pm. Rescheduled from last year due to the wet weather, this is another opportunity to enjoy this circular walk to two of Ballymoney’s finest examples of Neolithic tombs, the Broad Stone and Craigs Dolmen, both in State Care. Cost: FREE.

Assembly point: Entrance to Craigs Wood, Mullan Road at 7pm.

THE CROAGHAN WAY RAMBLE – Thursday 1 August, 6.15-9pm.

Set within the Antrim Coast & Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty this guided walk offers participants the opportunity to experience this beautiful area of blanket bog and montane heath. Weather permitting, the views from Croaghan summit towards Rathlin Island and beyond to the Scottish Coast and Islands are spectacular. Cost: FREE.

Assembly point: Altarichard Car Park, Altarichard Road at 6.15pm accessed via the Orra Scenic Route.

LISSANOURE CASTLE ESTATE WALK – Thursday 8 August, 7-9pm.

A unique walking experience set within the grounds of this magnificent private estate comprising lakes and woodland, including a 600 year old castle.

Numbers are limited to 80 persons by pre-booked ticket on a first come basis. Cost: £3 per person.

Refreshments available.

Assembly point: Lissanoure Castle Car Park, Ballyveely Road, Loughguille at 7pm.

BIODIVERSITY WALKS - Join Rachel Bain, Biodiversity Officer to enjoy these exciting nature-themed events which are FREE of charge and offer up an opportunity to find out more about the exciting flora and fauna in your local area.

HEDGEROWS GROW WEST, CULMORE HOUSE & FARM – Wednesday 29 May, 7-9pm.

Centred around Culmore House and Farm, which lies in the attractive Bann Valley, participants will have the opportunity to meet landowner David Laughlin and learn more about how his farm works with the natural environment, as well as exploring the beauty and biodiversity of native hedges on the farm. Cost: FREE. Refreshments available.

Assembly point: Entrance to Culmore Farm, Bann Rd, Kilrea at 7pm.

DRAGONFLY HUNT, GARRY BOG – Saturday 8 June, 2-4pm.

This is a special visit to the Garry Bog Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI), a site of world importance and one of the few remaining areas of intact raised bog. It is a site of particular nature conservation interest due to the diverse flora and fauna found there. Given the national importance of this site, numbers are limited to 25 persons on a first come basis, pre-booking required. Cost: FREE.

Assembly point: Ballybogey Road, left hand lay-by, 2 miles from the Portrush Road Roundabout at 2pm.

BIG BUTTERFLY COUNT, RIVERSIDE PARK – Saturday 20 July, 2-4pm.

Riverside Park is a linear park in the heart of Ballymoney, following the meandering course of the Ballymoney River. This event affords the opportunity to participate in a butterfly marathon and a ‘show and tell’ of our amazing native moths. Families particularly welcome. Cost: FREE.

Outdoor refreshments (weather permitting).

Assembly point: Riverside Park main car park, off Armour Avenue at 2pm.

WOODLAND FUNGAL FORAY, O’HARABROOK ESTATE - Thursday 29 August, 7-9pm.

This 3 mile circular walk starts and finishes in the village of Balnamore. Join Dermott Hughes of Forage Ireland and landowner Brigit Boyle, to engage in an evening of fungal foraging and identification in the beautiful wooded areas within O’Harabrook Estate. Numbers are limited to 25 persons on a first come basis, pre-booking required. Cost: FREE.

Special natural refreshments supplied by Forage Ireland.

Assembly point: Balnamore Primary School Car Park, Balnamore at 7pm.

“GET OUTDOORS WEEKEND” 21 & 22 September

SLIEVEANORRA HALF-DAY RAMBLE - Saturday 21 September, 11am-3.30pm.

This longer event offers the enthusiastic rambler an opportunity to undertake some 6-8 miles of hill walking within the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. All walkers should bring a packed lunch and warm, waterproof clothing. Good to moderate fitness required. Cost: FREE.

Assembly point: Anglers Car Park, Altnahinch Road, Loughguille at 11am.

To find out more information about any of the above events or to receive a Programme Leaflet please telephone the Countryside Access Officer on 028 276 60227 or the Biodiversity Officer on 028 703 47272.You can also visit www.ballymoney.gov.uk

Happy summer walking, we look forward to having you along!