The Conservation Volunteers have been working to restore a key section of the historic Clandeboye Avenue between Helens bay railway station and the Car Park at Helen's Bay Beach.
This project follows initial discussions between the Clandeboye Estate, The Conservation Volunteers, North Down Borough Council, representatives of the Residents Association and the Warden at the Crawfordsburn Country Park. Following that, the Conservation Volunteers gained funding from the Challenge Fund to enable them to carry out this work.
The first phase, which had to be completed before spring, focussed on widening the footpath along the Clandeboye Avenue, cutting back the brambles and intrusive shrubbery, and then resurfacing the path to keep the mud at bay for some years to come. This work is being done on the section of the Drive between Helen's Bay Railway Station and the Fort Road car park - probably the most used part of this lovely walk.
Commenting on their role, Stephen Bradley who is coordinating the work, said:
It is very rewarding to see the path return to its full width, as we work up it scraping off the vegetation and cutting back the bushes. The volunteers involved in this work can see a real result from their efforts. A number of passersby have also commented favourably on the improvements which they can see progressing.
Secretary of the Helen's Bay and Crawfordsburn Residents Association, Robin Masefield, said that the Association and indeed residents very much welcomed this initiative by the Conservation Volunteers. He said:
It is particularly timely, in the context of all the activities marking the 150th anniversary of the opening of the extension of the railway line from Holywood to Bangor. The Carriage Drive (or Clandeboye Avenue as it is sometimes known) was built when the Helen's Bay station was constructed, primarily to enable Lord Dufferin and his entourage to travel directly between Clandeboye House and the station.