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Tollymore Forest Park, Co Down

Give your extra hour to nature this weekend

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As we get ready to set the clocks back on Sunday 27 October, Action for Biodiversity is urging the public to spend their ‘extra’ hour getting outdoors and enjoying nature.

The East Border Region’s Action for Biodiversity Projectt are encouraging people to ditch their late lie-in for an hour spent in nature when they turn back the clocks this weekend.

Abby McSherry, Project Officer for Action for Biodiversity explains, “It’s all too tempting to spend extra time in bed when the clocks go back, but we think it’s far too early to start hibernating for winter! The weather at the moment is crisp and fresh and perfect for getting the family together to head outdoors and enjoy the rich variety of animal and plantlife on our doorstep.

“In your own back yard, you might consider planting a tree, hanging a birdfeeder, or taking the kids on a nature trail round the garden. You could take a wildlife walk at your local forest park in search of native red squirrels or spot water birds such as the wonderful Brent Geese at Strangford Lough. The clock change also occurs right around the time of the half term holidays, so we hope these ideas will inspire families on how to spend their time when the children are off school.”

Giving an hour to nature can also mean giving wildlife a home, Abby explains, “There are an estimated 271 species in danger of extinction in Northern Ireland, mostly due to humans expanding into their natural habitats. By building a pile of leaves in your garden for hedgehogs to live in or putting out a birdhouse or bug box you could help conserve endangered native species and protect them for future generations,” said Abby.

To find out more ways you can give an hour to nature in your own back garden and to find out about locations, venues and projects supported by Action for Biodiversity within your area, visit www.actionforbiodiversity.eu.

Give an hour to nature in your area:

Armagh
Take a walk through The Palace Demesne to see the Giant Bird Table, the wildflower meadow and the recently restored pond
• Bring the children on an eco-trail walk through Loughall Country Park – look out for bird boxes!
 
Down
Enjoy seeking out the returning red squirrels at Tollymore Forest Park – they even have their own trees to enjoy and are under surveillance by special cameras!
• Visit Strangford Lough to witness its birdlife and enjoy its rocky boulders full of barnacles, crabs, seaweeds; sandy shores and coastal grasslands
Castlewellan Forest Park has a series of lovely trails with views of the Mournes, the lake, the national arboretum and the 18th century gardens
Delamont Park in Killyleagh is perfect for clearing the head – and birdwatching
 
Newry & Mourne
Join in with a special ‘Give an Hour to Nature’ pumpkin picking day at Alderside Farm, Armagh Road, Newry on Saturday 26th October
• Spot fabulous fungi at Kilbroney Park and Oak Woodlands (also great for red squirrel spotting)
• Join the ‘Give an Hour to Nature’ event at Ring of Gullion on Saturday 26th October to help establish a local tree nursery and see the last heather flowers of the year
• Check out the vast array of nuts and seeds at Derrymore National Trust Estate - a great place to let the kids run through the open woodland!
 
North Down
Discover Balloo Wood and Wetlands Local Nature Reserve and its wonderful wildflower meadows
• Look for Black Guillemots nesting in the recently built nest boxes on display in Bangor Harbour
 
Banbridge
• Wrap up and take a riverside walk through Solitude Park and let the children play in the great outdoors
• Check out the native trees and pond that’s home to a wealth of wildlife at Scarva Park
 
Craigavon
Visit Lough Discovery Centre and Oxford Island National Nature Reserve in Lurgan – the richness of its wildflower meadows, woodlands, shoreline and open water means there is so much to see!
 
Ards
Take a stroll through Whitespots Country Park in Newtownards – learn about the area’s historic landscape, plants and vegetation and geology – then take in its panoramic views across Strangford Lough – if it’s a clear day you can spot Scotland!
• Visit Mount Stewart to spot the at-risk native red squirrel population and watch out for the invasive grey squirrel

See more Nature and Wildlife Attractions in Northern Ireland

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