Carnfunnock Country Park Consultation
Carnfunnock Country Park is a 191-hectare park located between Drains Bay and Ballygally, near Larne.
It is conveniently situated on the A2 Antrim Coast Road, 3.5 miles north of Larne. The park consists of mixed woodland, gardens, walking trails, adventure play park, café, caravan park, and stunning Antrim Coast and North Channel views.
The country park opened in July 1990 and has remained largely unchanged since then.
Recognising the need to future-proof the park and ensure that it continues to meet changing public needs, Park Hood was engaged to complete a draft masterplan for the Park and a number of potential actions were identified in 2018.
Some of these actions have been completed, however, the rest will require significant investment. An opportunity has arisen for Council to apply for external funding to help deliver these actions at Carnfunnock so now is the opportune time to re-engage with the public to ensure that the priorities previously identified are still valid.
Carnfunnock Country Park Consultation 2022 – Appendix 1
|1. Introduce indoor/sheltered space for activities, events and sports for various age groups||A ‘safari tent’ structure was introduced which is used for events including a monthly market.|
|2. New build or renovation of existing visitor centre||The existing centre is no longer fit for purpose. The layout is poor and could be more inclusive. The current site offers spectacular views over the North Channel.|
|3. Provision of outdoor adventure park (tree top walks/cargo nets/play/towers/toboggan/zip line)||Several private providers in NI offer tree top walks and in 2021, a toboggan run opened 45 minutes from Carnfunnock. What new facility does the park need which are in keeping with the natural setting whilst also being more inclusive?|
|4. Address safety concerns around single road access||This will be addressed in conjunction with item 6 – relocation of caravan facilities.|
|5. New build/renovation of Home Farm||Some works have been undertaken to make Home Farm safe, i.e. replacement of sections of roof, removal of asbestos and blocking up of openings.|
|6. Relocate caravan facilities and provide new amenity block(s)||Since the pandemic, there has been a surge in interest in camping and caravanning. The current site can accommodate just under 30 caravans and the camp facilities are limited. The amenity block which serves campers and caravanners requires an upgrade/replacement.
Carnfunnock has a 9 hole golf course whilst located right next to a private golf club. With limited use, Council could explore funding opportunities to develop a 5 star campsite on the golf course site where over 100 caravans could benefit from the spectacular view to Scotland
|7. Rejuvenate existing facilities – courtyard, amphitheatre, reintroduce viewing platform at the maze, arboretum||A Carbon Woodland will be planted from next winter in partnership with the Woodland Trust.|
|8. Infrastructure upgrades – paths, signage, shelters||A number of improvements have been made to make the park more accessible in recent years but other small changes would enhance the site and make it more accessible for all.|
|9. New habitat creation, biodiversity and educational opportunities||A Red Squirrel Programme runs at the site in conjunction with Ballygally Biodiversity Group and several educational activities take place at the park throughout the year.|
|10. Car park management – barrier system||The park suffered from terrible queues during peak periods such as Easter and Bank Holidays. It was recommended that a manual payment system be replaced with an automated system. This has been completed|