Save Cairn Wood!

There has been a public out-cry over the future of access to Cairn Wood in Holywood.

Cairn Wood is used by local people, including dog walkers, school children and the orienteering community, who are now worried that public access will be curtailed in light of the pending sale into private ownership. The nearby Ballysallagh reservoir is also on the market.

Green Party leader Steven Agnew MLA said today, 18 January 2016,

“I have been overwhelmed at the huge public interest generated by news that Northern Ireland Water is selling off part of Cairn Wood.

“The sale of Cairn Wood and Ballysallagh reservoir has caused concern for many in the community.

“There is a fear that if sold the site could be developed or public access could be lost.

“The Minister has now confirmed that there is interest in the site and that a sale is expected within weeks.

“I have asked the DRD Minister to give to assurances to constituents over continued public access and conservation of Cairn Wood following the sale of the reservoir.

“I have been reassured by the Minister that the forest itself is protected as the trees are owned by the forestry service.

“However I am concerned that there are no guarantees over public access.

“I met with Minister McIlveen to discuss Cairn Wood and see how public access could be maintained.

“I have requested that Cairn Wood be excluded from the sale.

“I am pleased that Minister McIlveen listened to concerns and she has given a commitment to explore all options in relation to Cairn Wood.

“I know that Cairn Wood forest is enjoyed by many in the community and it would be devastating if a new owner was to restrict access to it.”

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