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Last Updated: Monday, 27 June, 2005, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Beacon of hope on city's mountain
The mountain lies on the outskirts of Belfast
The mountain offers stunning views of Belfast and beyond
A beacon of hope is to be lit on Belfast's Divis mountain as the city looks forward to showing off its rugged beauty to the world.

The National Trust bought Divis and the Black Mountain last November from the Ministry of Defence.

On Monday, 1,500 acres of moor and heath land was opened to everyone.

A light, lit at 0800 BST on Divis Mountain, will mark the spot where the Drummond limelight shone in 1828 - when the Ordinance Survey of Ireland began.

"During the past eight months we have carried out a huge amount of work to secure the property, protect the natural habitat of this unique landscape and provide open access for all," Maurica Lavery, the Trust's communications manager said.

"Initial work has included clearing over 1,000 tonnes of debris from the site, constructing a floating path to the summit of Black Mountain, securing buildings on the mountain, building a car park as well as ensuring adequate signage in the area."

Black mountain
The hills will be opened up to walkers and sightseers

More than 200 volunteers from the public, private and voluntary sectors have been involved in the work to make the mountains a place for everyone to enjoy.

There will be room for walkers, nature-lovers and sightseers - young and old.

The National Trust's aim is to attract 20,000 to 30,000 visitors a year.

The fact that it is in the hands of the National Trust means there will be no danger of illegal quarrying and dumping, and the Army have removed their military trappings.

Black Mountain, including Divis, was first leased by the Ministry of Defence in 1953, during the Cold War.

It was used as a training area, with a small arms range.

When the lease expired in 1986, the MoD purchased the site, and it was used as a communications site throughout the worst of Northern Ireland's Troubles.

It was deemed surplus to requirements in 1999 and then sold to the National Trust for 3m.


SEE ALSO:
Belfast's green place for everyone
16 Nov 04 |  Northern Ireland
Trust buys Belfast mountain
16 Nov 04 |  Northern Ireland


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