The woods, meadows, wetlands, parks and farms along the Lagan are alive with wildlife.
The incredible variety includes many of the most endangered birds in the UK and Ireland. We're working to protect these birds and other wildlife to prevent further declines and make the Park a safe place for them to feed and breed.
Read more about our project
The award winning Laganscape project, dedicated to restoring, protecting and enhancing the Lagan Valley Regional Park’s heritage, wildlife and natural features (as well as amenities), has just completed its 4th year. As LVRP Information Officer David Scott tells us, new programmes are underway, established projects are making great strides, and visitors to the Park will be able to see the results and enjoy the benefits. (That goes for visiting and resident wildlife too!)
There is plenty of work still in progress, so even more good things for us all to look forward to in 2012. In future blogs we’ll be giving you more details about these developments.
As we completed another year, the Laganscape staff and volunteers are looking back on the last twelve months with some level of satisfaction. It has been a busy time with an ambitious programme of projects successfully completed. Some have been continuing previous work, such as our bird conservation project, with more bird boxes being put up and a new monitoring system put into place. In future updates we hope to reveal just how many of our feathered friends have taken up residence in the deluxe apartments built by our volunteers. Other new projects are nearing completion, including the riverside park in Lisburn. Watch this space for more details.
Again, our volunteers have been working tirelessly in the Regional Park and the Lock Keeper’s cottage. The Saturday Conservation Team (50 members strong) are a committed and highly motivated group of individuals who care passionately about the Regional Park. They have been involved in a wide range of projects throughout the year and have supported the initiatives of many of our partner organisations including:
“I appreciate knowing that in years to come I can proudly show other people the trees or hedges we planted and feel a sense of contribution to this beautiful park.” Carol Laird, Conservation Volunteer
Our Survey Volunteers have been out in all weathers taking part in our species survey initiative. They have been helping to build a picture of the health of populations of red squirrel, butterflies, birds and bees, which in turn feeds into conservation plans being developed by the Regional Park and other organisations, such as Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland.
Thanks to the dedication of the Heritage Guides, the Lock Keeper’s cottage (LKC) continues to be a great success. Through our Guides’ passionate interpretation of the cottage and Lock 3, the public remain enthralled in the story - as the visitor numbers reflect. The cottage would not be open without our Guides’ input. In fact they are responsible for promoting the LKC on behalf of the project and Castlereagh Borough Council. This year the Guides met and helped the project team develop the future management of the LKC and garden. 2012 will see the Guides taking a more active role in the day-to-day care of the building and artefacts as well as weekend opening.
“Volunteering in the cottage is a great way to meet new people. I have particularly enjoyed having the opportunity to develop the cottage garden. Many visitors have complimented the work we’ve done.” David Scott, Heritage Guide Volunteer
However, we are not sitting on our laurels and have already started on Year 5. In 2012, we will see the development of a new wetland project and the creation of 3.54 hectares of wildflower meadow in Minnowburn. In partnership with the National Trust, these projects are already being developed with new accessible pathways being completed by the end of January 2012.
Laganscape is currently developing an Interpretation Strategy, which will look at the signage throughout the Regional Park. It is hoped that new interpretation can be produced, providing more information and helping visitors get more enjoyment from their surroundings.
We have exciting new community projects due to start this year. Local communities were asked to submit ideas for projects in their area, which would benefit local people and the natural or built environment. We have shortlisted the successful community groups and will begin work in the spring.
This year will see the end of the Ancient Oak project with the last 700 trees being planted. These young trees were grown from acorns collected from some of the oldest oaks in Ireland found in Belvoir Park Forest. To date we have planted out over 4000 with the help of our volunteers, school groups and local communities.
Our species conservation projects have everyone excited. We will be building artificial otter holts, swift, bat and barn owl boxes. We hope to have cameras in bird boxes and outside kingfisher tunnels with live feeds on our website. These plans are still in the early stages of development, so keep an eye on www.laganvalley.co.uk for further news. Or, if you'd like to volunteer this year!
Photos from LVRP show the many things our volunteers get up to!