A magical night was had by all who took up the invitation to ‘Light up your Lantern’ at Oakfield Glen - on Friday the 13th.
Families designed a lantern, then headed into the wood were they met owls, magical creatures, listened to some stories and toasted marshmallows over the fire.
Organised by the Woodland Trust in partnership with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, the October event encouraged young people to get outdoors and was also aimed at promoting the area’s woodland and parks as a great place for families to visit.
Over a three-hour period members of the public had the opportunity to experience this enchanting Carrickfergus woodland by twilight.
As well as creating lanterns from recycled materials, participants enjoyed tales from renowned storyteller Liz Weir.
Families got to feast their eyes too upon some magnificent owls. The birds were visiting thanks to Mantella, an environmental education service.
Oakfield Glen, the Woodland Trust pointed out, is a treasure trove. A Victorian stone bridge and old ice house offer a glimpse of days gone by. And today’s well-used paths connect Oakfield to the neighbouring council-owned Bashfordsland Wood.
The wood is also home to the Púca, which are fairy-like creatures, hiding in the treetops. According to folklore, the Púca are the most mischievous of all the fairies in Ireland. Oakfield’s are sculptures made from steel and with input from local primary schools.
The event was in support of the work of the Woodland Trust, which was established in 1972 and now has over 1,000 sites in its care, covering over 22,500 hectares.
With over 500,000 supporters, the conservation charity wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.
The Trust has three key aims:
To protect ancient woodland, which is rare, unique and irreplaceable;
To restore damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life;
To plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.
Access to its woods is free. Further news can be found at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk