Wild Places to Visit – Northern Ireland – Victoria Park

Victoria Park is one of our favourite local places to visit all year round. Despite its city location it is a great place to spot wildlife and has superb walking and cycling links. My youngest son and I recently hopped on our bikes for a spin along the Connswater Greenway to check our bikes out before Sustrans Big Pedal begins in a couple of weeks time. We went for a little sunny cycle tour of East Belfast and Victoria Park with our route taking us through C.S. Lewis Square and the impressive Narnia-themed sculptures which dot this fab public space and in around Victoria Park.

The first thing we noticed was the beautiful golden display of daffodils which seemed to radiate a light of their own. A circuit around the outer trail at a nice slow pace saw us overlooking the mudflats which play host to a rich variety of wildlife – we spied ducks, oysters catchers and curlews as we cycled along. I explained to my son how important this area is as a wildlife haven and that the mudflats are rich in oysters, cockles, snails and worms which are a vital source of food for populations of wintering waders and wildfowl, including oyster catchers, tern and redshank.

My son seemed interested enough to learn all of this but I knew that he was also itching for a whizz around the BMX track so we headed onwards, taking care not to run over brave squirrels perched on the pathways. I took a few videos of the BMX ‘stunts’ and then leant back against a tree to watch my son play while I also admired the daffodils, blossom, blue sky and listened to the birdsong – bliss! There’s no need to head off into the wilderness to connect with nature, sometimes it’s simply a case of slowing down and paying attention to what’s right there on our own doorsteps!

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