Saturday, 23 October 2010

Glastry Reserve


I dropped a Malteser chocolate down the sofa last night and the ruddy thing melted, causing a mess. I didn't know it was there until I got up! I got the worst of it tidied up; however I've tackled the stain this afternoon and it seems to be all right.

Yet another day of toil; a labour of love. We - the NT Volunteers - met at Glastry today. Glastry is about a mile from the fishing village of Ballyhalbert in County Down.

The National Trust owns the land which was once the old brick-works at Glastry. It closed a long time ago, in 1872. The former clay pits filled naturally with rain-water; and now form a series of ponds surrounded by a lovely nature reserve. I think it once formed part of the 2nd World War air base, RAF Ballyhalbert.

The weather was fairly rotten today, the rain relentless for most of the day. Still, we managed to get a substantial amount of gorse cleared, lighting a bonfire to burn it.

Glastry Nature Reserve project involves the regeneration of a former waste tip site, into a wild life promoting habitat and green area for use by local residents near the 35 acre site. Formerly the site of Glastry Brickworks at the turn of the 19th century, the area now benefits from several small ponds created by clay mining for the production of bricks used in many of Belfast's buildings.

The land was presented to the National Trust in 1978 but was left wild, grazed by local cattle, for a few years before being used as a council waste tip in the early 1980s. The tip was capped in the late 1980s and once again the land was left to return to open grassland. There are two sections to the site with the Glastry road separating them.


Currently funding is being sought to support this initiative from the Rural Development Programme, National Lottery, and the Arts Council.

Some of the plans for the area, including tree planting, picnic tables, car parking facilities, and fencing. It is also hoped to attract local artists to create woodland themed art installations in the area, including sculptures of wildlife, and popular fictional themes such as 'The Ents' the guardians of Fangorn Forest from the Lord of the Rings stories.

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