WOOD that was once the decking of Belfast’s Lagan Weir footbridge has found a new lease of life thanks to some creative upcycling by conservation charity, the National Trust.

Upcycling is a buzzword at the moment as people seek creative ways to turn unwanted goods into something new. The National Trust recently showed just how good they are at conservation by using reclaimed wood from Belfast’s Lagan Weir footbridge to create bespoke picnic tables, benches and signage for Minnowburn.

The upcycling project is part of an exciting project to improve visitor access and experience at this popular woodland park near the Shaws Bridge visitor magnet.

New hard wood furniture and a handrail, along with wall and paving repairs, are the latest instalment of the Terrace Hill Garden rejuvenation project and a suite of way marking posts, which along with a new pocket sized map are proving a big hit with visitors to the Minnowburn trails.

“The Terrace Hill Garden improvements have come about thanks to funding from the Alpha Landfill Tax grant programme, two other generous donors and a substantial donation of Iroko hardwood decking from Graham Construction Ltd,” explained National Trust Head Ranger Craig Somerville.

“The decking came from the old Lagan Weir footbridge which was replaced with a new one in 2015, so it’s great that this valuable timber has found a new home further upstream on the River Lagan.”

The new furniture is made completely from the recycled Iroko and consists of two beautiful bespoke picnic tables and two semi-circular benches installed within the garden rotunda.

“The furniture was designed for free by a company based at Minnowburn called Green Woodwork Ireland, who were keen to help us with this innovative recycling project,” added Craig. “The designs compliment the benches that were installed in the garden alcoves in 2014, which echo designs seen in the Art Deco period.”

Other major improvements to Terrace Hill Garden include the much-needed installation of a metal handrail on Freddie’s Steps, improving garden access, and the restoration of garden walls and paving. also paid for by the Alpha project funding.”

The way marking finger-posts were manufactured using seasoned oak with the pointers made using the recycled Iroko wood. They have been installed to help walkers navigate their way around the various trails, linking key landmarks, including the Giant’s Ring, Terrace Hill Garden and Shaws Bridge.

The post project was supported with funding from the North Down and Ards National Trust Members Association. The installation of the posts coincides with the release of a Minnowburn walking trail map leaflet, ensuring walkers can now get the most out of a visit to this stunning part of the popular Lagan Valley Regional Park.