Crawfordsburn Country Park celebrates 50 years

Date published: 27 October 2021

Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA has unveiled new memorials to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the park and 75 years since the creation of the Ulster Way.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA is pictured with Mr Joe Furphy OBE as they celebrate 50 years of Crawfordsburn Country Park. Mr Furphy oversaw the creation and opening of the original park at Crawfordsburn.

Both milestones have been marked with bespoke wooden memorials carved from a 100 year old Red Cedar tree which had to be felled for safety reasons in 2020.

Speaking at the event, Minister Poots said: “Crawfordsburn Country Park and The Ulster Way, especially the North Down Coastal Path are enjoyed by so many people and are hugely important sites for engagement with our natural heritage, nature and outdoor recreation. This year has already seen over 800,000 visits to the site.

“I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to commemorate both of these anniversaries, particularly when we also mark the centenary year of Northern Ireland. 

“We are all indebted to the foresight and pioneering hard work of all those individuals who worked so hard to ensure that these important natural assets were conserved and protected for future generations and the enjoyment of all.”

Mr Joe Furphy OBE who oversaw the creation and opening of the original park 50 years ago said: “Crawfordsburn Country Park immediately became a big attraction to the people of Belfast in particular.

“The park which has regularly seen annual visitor numbers of more than 750,000 is now also offering a digital experience to visitors, locally accessible through QR codes displayed on new signage across the park.”

Speaking about the new digital access to the park, Minister Poots said: “I am delighted that we have been able to take people’s experience of the park into the digital world. They can now discover the park on the MyNI website in a way which wouldn’t have been possible 50 years ago and certainly not even envisaged one hundred years ago.  

“The website will feature useful information about the park for visitors as well as its rich and interesting history over the years, optimising visitor experience and public engagement with the site and creating understanding as to how some of our most precious natural spaces have evolved over the past century.”

Minister Poots added; “As well as honouring all those who helped create the park, I would like to pay tribute to all of those who have worked and continue to work so hard, to ensure the park continues to be one of Northern Ireland’s premiere destinations for naturally inspired outdoor recreation.”

The new memorials are located outside the park’s visitor centre, and beside the recently replaced foot bridge at the mouth of the Crawford’s Burn and to visit the park virtually go to MyNi.



Notes to editors: 

  1. The park which is managed by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency was created in 1971 and covers some 98 hectares, whilst the Ulster Way was pioneered by Wilfrid Capper in 1946.
  2. Family members of the late Derek (Gus) Drew, who was the park’s first warden and lived on site was also in attendance.
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