Belfast Hills Heritage Festival

Explore the history, heritage, wildlife and archaeology of Divis Mountain and more with an array of events from walks and talks to conservation and dancing

Festival Details


Saturday, 02 July 2016 to Sunday, 10 July 2016



Divis Bus Trip Saturday 2nd July 9.45am Cost: Full: £4 / Concession: £3

Enjoy a guided 5 mile walk along the Ridge Trail with the National Trust Warden for Divis Mountain, and enjoy the breath-taking views across Belfast City and beyond. There will be two pick-up points for the walk, both at 9.45am. Meet at either the car park at Antrim Castle Gardens or at the Academy Sports Club in Mallusk, where a bus will then take you to the starting point. Bring along a packed lunch, water/a drink and suitable outdoor clothing and boots. Sorry – no dogs allowed.

To book your place, please contact Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council: T. 028 9034 0138 or E. Advanced booking is essential as places are limited.

Heritage Bus Tour Monday 4th July 9.30am – 3.30pm Cost: £10 (£5 for Friends of the Belfast Hills)

Step on board and journey with us as we explore the rich history, industrial heritage, wildlife and archaeology of the Belfast Hills. This event includes some walking, but those with limited mobility can be catered for. Bring a packed lunch. Wear outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear. Suitable for children over 12. Book now as places are limited.

Gruffalo Wildlife Trail Tuesday 5th July 11am – 12pm Cost: Free

Take a stroll in the deep dark wood of Colin Glen Forest Park to join us on an adventure full of fun and discovery! Uncover the mysteries of the wildlife and plants that live in the forest and meet all your favourite characters from the Gruffalo along the way. This family friendly walk will meander through Colin Glen, stopping at each character for a wildlife activity. Wear outdoor clothing and comfy footwear. Suitable for children 3yrs and above. Booking is essential!

Heritage Talk – Cresent Arts Centre Tuesday 5th July 7.30pm – 9pm Cost: Free

A look back at what we have learned about the built and natural heritage of the hills over the last years. The results of our archaeological digs, surveys and research, which have all added to a developing picture of the heritage of the Belfast Hills. No booking required, just turn up!

Pollination in Action Wednesday 6th July 10am -1pm Cost: Free A family friendly walk through the meadows and heaths of Slievenacloy looking at what the busy bees and other insects are up to among the rich array of wildflowers in this special place. We will be looking at the special tricks and ploys some plants use to make sure pollination happens! Wear outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear. Meet at Ballycollin Road Entrance. No booking required, just turn up!

Exploring Cavehill – Orienteering at Belfast Castle Wednesday 6th July 6.30pm onwards Cost: Free

Take part in this fun sport while navigating your way around a site using a map to a series of 'control points'. You can walk, jog or run between points. This includes straying off the beaten track, enabling you to discover new places in otherwise familiar sites. Lagan Valley Orienteering Club will have experts at hand. Find us at the Adventurous Playground car park at Belfast Castle. No booking required, just turn up!

Alien attack on Cave Hill! Thursday 7th July 10.30am – 1pm Cost: Free

Come and try your hand at environmental conservation in the beautiful setting of Cave Hill. Join our friendly Volunteer Officer, Lisa, for a fun conservation task pulling Alien invasive plant species, Himalayan balsam. The task is fairly easy going as the roots are shallow and easily pulled up - no experience is necessary! We provide all equipment; just bring water, suitable outdoor clothing (ideally covering arms & legs to avoid any nettle stings) and sturdy footwear. Refreshments provided. Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult, 16-17 need a signed consent form. Meet us at the castle carpark on Cave Hill. No booking required.

Dance-Fit in the Hills! Thursday 7th July 6.30pm – 7.30pm Cost: Free

Join us for a fun dance workout on the hills with Helen Hall (Helen Hall Arts), a freelance dancer who has created a dance workout with a Brazilian flavour. She blends movements from styles such as samba reggae, maracatu and samba no pe with her own style of dance and choreography. This dance work-out is sure to get your heart pumping and put a smile on your face as you dance away on Divis Mountain. This event is all about having fun whilst getting fit and the movements can be adapted to suit all fitness levels. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear suitable for an outdoor workout. Bring water. Suitable for people aged 16 and over. Booking is essential as spaces are limited!

Picnic and Nature walk at Ballyaghagan Cave Hill Country Park Friday 8th July 1.00pm – 3.00pm Cost: Free

Discover the lesser known site of Ballyaghagan Nature Reserve, part of Cave Hill Country Park. Enjoy munching your sandwiches while admiring the rich array of wild flowers and plants found at this uplands meadow location. A relaxing walk which will involve a few steep slopes will then help burn off the calories after lunch. Please bring your own lunch (no food will be provided as part of the event), picnic blankets and suitable outdoor clothing and footwear. No booking required, just turn up!

Big Challenge Walk Saturday 9th July 10am – 3pm Cost: £5

This wonderful walk will take you from Ligoniel Park all the way to Hazelbank Park on the Shore Road. The paths are mainly gravel with some road walking and can be fairly steep in places. This is a long distance and challenging walk of 10 miles. We will meet you at Hazelbank Park and take you in a bus up to Ligoniel Park. We will then make our way over the hills, including Cavehill and Carnmoney, back to our starting point at Hazelbank. Wear suitable outdoor clothing and sturdy walking boots. Bring a packed lunch and water. Booking is essential as places are limited.

Parkrun Saturday 9th July 9.30am- Cost: Free! Get your running shoes on and come along to Colin Glen to take part in the latest parkrun! This is a 5km event for runners of all standards - it is not a race against other runners, but a 5k timed run. So whether you are a complete novice looking to get yourself started on your own “running journey” – even if you think you’ll need to walk most of it - or a seasoned runner wanting to use this as a part of your training schedule, you’re welcome to come along and join us. If you want your time sent to you, you need to register on the parkrun website and print out and bring along your barcode. No other booking required but just turn up!

To book or for further information visit, Tel: 028 9060 3466 or email 9 Social Economy Village, Hannahstown Hill, Belfast BT17 0XS.