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The Six Mile Water River Park - Best Park and Natural Retreat on the City's Outskirts

Newtownabbey’s Green Escapes: Discovering the Best Parks and Natural Retreats on the City’s Outskirts (2024)

Newtownabbey, a town near Belfast in Northern Ireland, is not just a hub of cultural heritage but also a haven for nature enthusiasts. Nestled on the city’s outskirts are some of the most tranquil and picturesque parks and natural retreats. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these green spaces offer perfect escapades from the hustle and bustle of city life. In this article, we’ll explore some of Newtownabbey’s best-kept natural secrets.

1. Jordanstown Loughshore Park:

A stone’s throw away from the Loughshore Hotel, Jordanstown Loughshore Park is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. The park offers stunning views of Belfast Lough, perfect for a peaceful stroll or a family picnic. Its well-maintained pathways make it ideal for cycling and jogging. The park also features a children’s play area, making it a great option for families.

2. Hazelbank Park:

This picturesque park, with its rolling green fields and panoramic views of the Belfast Lough, is a must-visit. Hazelbank Park is ideal for leisurely walks, cycling, or simply sitting back and enjoying the serene environment. The park’s pathways connect to the Newtownabbey Way, offering an extended trail for more adventurous visitors.

3. The Six Mile Water River Park:

Running through Ballyclare and into Lough Neagh, this river park is a gem for anglers and nature lovers. The park is abundant with local wildlife and is a popular spot for fishing, especially during the salmon and trout seasons. The surrounding walking trails offer a peaceful retreat into nature.

4. Carnmoney Hill:

For those who love a bit of adventure, Carnmoney Hill provides a perfect setting. The hill offers several walking trails through woodland and open fields, leading to the summit, which offers breathtaking views of Belfast and beyond. It’s a moderately challenging hike and a great way to experience the local flora and fauna.

5. Abbeycentre Green:

A smaller but equally charming spot is the Abbeycentre Green, located near the Abbeycentre shopping complex. It’s a quaint space for those looking for a quick escape into nature. The park has a beautiful pond and seating areas, ideal for a relaxing break after shopping.

6. Threemilewater Conservation Park:

This park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The conservation area is home to various bird species, making it a popular spot for birdwatching. It also features walking paths that meander through woodlands and alongside the river, offering a tranquil experience.

7. O’Neill Park:

O’Neill Park, with its vast open green spaces and sports facilities, is perfect for those looking to combine leisure with physical activity. The park has well-maintained football pitches, a playground for children, and ample space for a family day out.

8. Carnmoney Hill Local Nature Reserve

Step into a bygone era at Carnmoney Hill Local Nature Reserve. This ancient woodland, once a hunting ground for Gaelic chieftains, is now a haven for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Wander along meandering trails carpeted in ferns, breathe in the crisp air scented with wildflowers, and be transported to a world where time seems to stand still. Keep an eye out for shy deer, flitting birds, and the occasional stoat darting amongst the undergrowth.

9. Antrim Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Venture beyond the city limits and delve into the wild beauty of the Antrim Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This dramatic landscape, carved by ancient glaciers and volcanic eruptions, is a feast for the senses. Hike through heather-clad glens, scale rugged peaks like Slemish Mountain, or explore hidden waterfalls cascading down emerald slopes. Breathe in the fresh air, feel the wind in your hair, and let the untamed spirit of nature wash over you.

10. Glenariff Forest Park

For a true escape into the emerald embrace of nature, Glenariff Forest Park awaits. This mystical woodland, carpeted in ferns and cloaked in ancient trees, is a haven for hikers, photographers, and nature lovers. Follow the meandering Waterfall Walk, a series of wooden bridges and pathways leading you past cascading waterfalls, hidden grottoes, and verdant ravines. Listen to the enchanting melodies of birdsong and let the dappled sunlight dance on the forest floor.

Embrace the Green Escapes of Newtownabbey

Whether you seek an invigorating hike, a peaceful picnic, or a wildlife encounter, Newtownabbey’s green escapes offer something for everyone. So lace up your boots, grab your backpack, and let the city’s outskirts lead you on an unforgettable journey into nature’s embrace.

P.S. Don’t forget to pack your camera! These stunning landscapes and charming parks are begging to be captured in all their glory.

Additional Tips

  • Pack comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate clothing for your chosen activity.
  • Bring a picnic basket and enjoy a meal surrounded by nature’s beauty.
  • Be mindful of wildlife and their habitat.
  • Leave no trace and respect the natural environment.


Newtownabbey’s outskirts are dotted with numerous parks and natural retreats, each offering a unique experience. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax, enjoy a family outing, or engage in outdoor activities, these green spaces provide the perfect setting. So, next time you’re in Newtownabbey, make sure to explore these beautiful escapes into nature.

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