Lagan Valley is home to a rich and varied biodiversity. The array of habitats in the Regional Park support a wide variety of birds, fish, invertebrates and small mammals including badgers, foxes and red squirrels.
The meadows and woodland through which the Lagan meanders are rich in wild flowers. Woodland areas are especially stunning in spring with the first flush of bluebells covering the forest floor, such as can be seen in Belvoir Park Forest, the beechwoods at Minnowburn and Barnett’s Demesne. Many of the wildflower meadows are managed to protect their species diversity and in early summer orchids abound. Some of our best wildflower sites can be found in Lagan Meadows as well as the grasslands adjacent to Sharman Road. The meadow near the courtyard of Belvoir Park Forest and the North-West reaches of Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park also have a magnificent display of wildflowers including orchid in the early summer.
Some of the ancient oaks found in the Lagan Valley are the oldest recorded in Ireland and they provide a unique habitat for literally hundreds of organisms. Many of these can be found in Belvoir Park Forest and Barnett’s Demesne.
The river and canal system form a wildlife corridor for aquatic species including salmon and trout and also amphibian and on rare occasions newt may be seen. As well as wildfowl the watercourse is home to kingfishers, dippers and the occasional heron and regular sightings of the otter is testimony to the improved water quality.
We have identified a number of key species that we would like to monitor and we’re hoping that you can help us by taking note where and when you see them as you walk through the Park.
The information we receive will help us to gain a better understanding of our local wildlife and will help us to direct management of the Regional Park to maximise its value for biodiversity.