Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Northern Ireland beauty spot to be featured on BBC series

One of the Antrim coast’s hidden treasures will get the star treatment when it features in children’s BBC series The Green Balloon Club this week.

Cranny Falls in Carnlough is a local nature reserve set up by Larne Borough Council and has featured in the Belfast Telegraph’s Walk This Way walking series.

It will be one of five beauty spots to be shown at 3.30pm from today until Friday — Cranny Falls is the third and will probably be transmitted on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Larne Borough Council said: “We are delighted that Cranny Falls was chosen to be one of the five places in Northern Ireland that CBeebies came to for filming earlier this year. It is a popular programme and will be seen by a wide audience.

“Cranny Falls is a lovely place to experience and the programme succeeds in giving an important introduction to this special place.”

Cranny Falls is the end point of a 2km walk from the Hurry Head at Carnlough Harbour, along a path known locally as the Old Mineral Railway Path, then through the now disused Gortin Quarry.

The waterfall was given Local Nature Reserve status because the particular rock features and the waterfall have produced a habitat of great richness and diversity of plants and animals. The wet cliff faces are home to some interesting plants and invertebrates.

The limestone grasslands found at Cranny Falls support a number of rare and localised flowers, such as orchids and daisies which attract a great number of moths and butterflies. Peregrine falcons and ravens can also be found wheeling about overhead as they nest in the nearby cliffs.

The river running through the nature reserve supports a rich variety of insect life, which in turn attracts feeding bats.

The waterfall is reached through a pathway of hazel woodland interspersed with oak, elder, ash and rowan. This spectacular woodland supports a wide variety of wildlife, from wild garlic and bluebells on the forest floor in the springtime, to birds such as long-tailed tit and numerous insects. Red squirrels can also be spotted.

There are three information panels located along the walk, giving the story of the quarry and the limestone that was mined from there and taken to factories in Scotland. There is one remaining lime kiln on the right as you are walking up.

The mining came to an end in the 1950s but there are still people alive today who remember working in this tough occupation. The remains of the limestone spoil heaps are still visible in the quarry and in Cranny Falls.

The walk goes uphill very gently and there are some seats along the way from which you can get lovely views of Carnlough Bay.

If you do go for a walk here, keep your eyes open.

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