If you're looking for inspiration for things to do this summer, either with or without the kids, check out Peatlands Park in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone.
You can enjoy a picnic and an ice-cream, feed the ducks, take a walk through 16km of paths or have fun on the Peatlands train -which travels through tree- lined corridors and across the peat bog.
“The train is very popular with visitors of all ages and we know there has been a railway operating here since the early 20th century. It’s a relic of the previous commercial peat-harvesting operation that took place on the site,” said Colin Gates, Assistant Warden at Peatlands Park.
Today, the train runs on weekends and public holidays between 1.00pm and 4.00pm until the end of August. Entrance to the Park, which is open from 9am to 9pm until 15 September, is off Junction 13 on the M1 and is free, as is car parking. A family ticket for the 1.5 mile train journey is £5, with under 5s going free.
Peatlands Park, the first of its type in the British Isles, was established to promote awareness of the importance of peatlands. The peat at the 680 acre site has been forming for about 10,000 years and supports many rare and notable species of plants and animals.
“Peatlands Park is a very special place. It’s perfect for teaching kids about the world around them; if you’re a nature lover you’ll be entranced by the splendid insect life including dragonflies, moths and butterflies such as the marsh fritillary. There are also many woodland and wetland birds to spot and you might even spot lizards and newts in the open bogs,” Colin added.
For more information on the Park visit the DiscoverNI website.
Notes to editors:
- The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, an Agency within the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, manages seven Country Parks and approximately 50 Nature Reserves across Northern Ireland.
- Peatlands Park is situated near the shores of Lough Neagh just off the M1 Motorway at Junction 13 South East of Dungannon. The site is 265 Ha (680 acres) with many woodchipped pathways and raised wooden boardwalks. There are over 16km (10 miles) of pathways leading through the many and varied habitats that can be found within the Park.
- Entry to the Country Park is free. The Park is open 9am to 9pm daily to 15 September 2016. Free car parking is also available on site during Park opening hours.
- Tickets for the train can be purchased at the train platform and cost £2 for adults, £1 for children and under 5s travel free. A family ticket consisting of 2 adults and 2 children is just £5. Two of the carriages have been specially adapted to allow wheelchair users to also enjoy the train ride and scenery of the Park.
- The Park provides visitors who take a tranquil walk along its paths with a unique opportunity to experience both peatland and woodland habitats and their wildlife. A bog garden featuring include insect-eating plants can be viewed from boardwalks. The Park is home to a wide range of wildlife including meadow pipits and cuckoos, and many types of insects, particularly butterflies, moths, dragonflies and damselflies. Many woodland and wetland birds and several species of waterfowl nest here. Badgers and hares are also present, while lizards and newts can be found in the open bog areas.
- Within the Park are two National Nature Reserves which have unique flora and fauna; many of the species present are found nowhere else in Northern Ireland. Annagarriff (meaning rough bog) is a 77 hectare reserve comprising wooded drumlin hills separated by areas of regenerating cut-over bog. Mullenakill (meaning church on the hill) is a 22 hectare uncut remnant of a much more extensive bog which has been growing here for over 8,000 years and is around 9m deep.
- For further information about other NIEA-managed properties please visit the DiscoverNI website.
- All media enquiries to DAERA Press Office, firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 028 9052 4619.