Sculpture trail at Minnowburn
Minnowburn Car Park, Ballylesson Road, Belfast BT8Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Minnowburn is a green refuge set on the fringe of Belfast, in the Lagan Valley Regional Park. Wooden chainsaw sculptures are dotted around the trail, there is a pond full of wildlife, and Terrace Hill has spectacular views of the Lagan Valley, to Beech woodland and the Lagan river. As well as guessing what the sculptures are about, see what wildlife you can spot.
- Bus stop
Start: Minnowburn Car Park, grid ref: NW445242
From the car park, follow the path from beside Minnowburn bridge upstream, along the bank of the Minnowburn itself, with young broadleaved woodland on your right.
After about 109 yards (100 metres), you'll come to a fork in the path with an engraved log sign, where you'll also find the first of our sculptures. Take the left most fork to the pond and around it, where the second sculpture awaits.
The pond area was a rarely visited part of Minnowburn until a few years ago when restoration began with dredging out. In 2010, work began to put a new accessible path around the pond and add a dipping platform. Keep an eye out and you might see ducks nesting in the reeds, frogs or a common newt feeding on the many insects that inhabit the pond.
Once you've completed the loop around the pond, go back to the fork in the path and take the path uphill. The path passes through younger woodland and climbs uphill to Terrace Hill Garden, with great views of the Lagan Valley along the way. Find more sculptures and enjoy the surroundings of the 1930s walled garden.
Constructed in the 1930s as the garden for Terrace Hill house, the garden was originally in an Arts and Crafts style. However, over the years it became increasingly shaded and overgrown until the Minnowburn staff started renewal with the help of volunteers. Trees have been removed, paths added, planting done and now three sculptures are in place. Work continues to sympathetically restore the garden and it has become one of the best and most popular viewpoints in the Lagan Valley.
From the garden, take the steps from the west end of the garden up into the trees towards Terrace Hill House and follow the short path to Freddy's steps. Descend the steps and halfway down, take the path to the right, through the beech woodland where you will find the next sculpture.
The woodland that you walk through on this trail is composed of beech, continuing the character of the original Minnowburn beeches. Planted in the 1960s with the involvement of world renowned environmentalist Richard St Barbe Baker, the beeches were planted with a 'nurse' crop of larch that protected the young trees and you can see have now been mostly harvested.
At the end of the path, climb a couple of steps onto the Giant's Ring path. Turn right and follow this path to the Edenderry Road. Cross the road and take the path opposite down to the Lagan river. At the river you'll find our last sculpture, turn right and follow the river bank path with the carr (wet) woodland on your right, back to the car park. Just before the car park, on the right, you'll find some more natural woodland art, in the form of the 'Lagan Love Trail', a project by Belfast artist Liam de Frinse.
End: Minnowburn Car Park, grid ref: NW445242
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- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 1.5 miles
- Time: 1 hour
- OS Map: OSNI sheet 15
The walk is mainly gravel paths and uneven surfaces, with a hill to climb and steps from Terrace Hill Garden.
- How to get here:
On foot: Our paths link to the Ulster Way at Shaw's Bridge and also connect to the Lagan Towpath which runs between Belfast and Lisburn. Look out for the National Trust signs
By bike: Our property links to National Cycle Network Route 9 at Shaw’s Bridge
By bus: From the Europa Buscentre in the centre of Belfast, take either routes 13D or 513 and stop at Shaw's bridge
By road: We're just off the A55 ring road from Belfast to Newcastle, in South Belfast. At Shaw's Bridge, follow the brown signs down the Ballylesson Road to Minnowburn car park
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