Manx Wildlife Trust opened its new nature reserve at Ramsey Hairpin last week.

The charity’s patrons, Lieutenant Governor Sir John Lorimer and Lady Phillipa Lorimer were joined by representatives of the Rotary Club of Douglas, Ramsey Town commissioners and MWT trustees, to mark the public opening of Hairpin Woodland Park.

The Rotary Club, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, have raised funds to enable this project to come to fruition.

MWT Hairpin Woodland Park (HWP) is the gateway to the Ramsey Forest, which is long-term MWT project to encourage the naturally expanding woodland cover between Ramsey and Sulby.

The charity is working closely with other partners in the creation of a woodland park, a place where people can experience, explore, and enjoy being in nature.

The core of HWP is a 55-acre forest at Claughbane, which has been passed by the Isle of Man Government to MWT on a 99-year lease.

Within HWP will be native woodland, wetlands, meadows and a forest garden to showcase sustainability, wildlife and carbon capture.

There will be interactive interpretation, play areas for young people to discover more about the island’s natural history, and extensive pathways for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the area.

The main entrance to HWP will be at the Ramsey Hairpin on the TT course and include discrete car and cycle parking and a welcome pavilion for visitors to meet and find out more about the area.

Manx Wildlife Trust's new nature reserve in Ramsey
Manx Wildlife Trust's new nature reserve in Ramsey (Graham Makepeace-Warne)

HWP will also be able to be accessed from the west side, via car and cycle parking at Milntown Estate, who are a key project partner. The site is also a short walk from bus and electric railway stations in Ramsey.

The money raised by the Rotary Club of Douglas will fund the infrastructure development (education spaces, interpretation, footpaths, etc.) and enable the planting of more than 10,000 trees across the wider site extending southwards to Glen Auldyn.

MWT chief executive Leigh Morris said: ‘The official opening of Hairpin Woodland Park at Ramsey is a landmark moment for MWT, as it now provides us with a large site adjacent to one of the major population centres in the island, primarily aimed on engaging people with nature and wildlife.

‘MWT have been working at the site for many years and with a 99-year lease in place for the land from DEFA, our partnership with the Milntown Estate, and financial support from the Rotary Club of Douglas, we are now able to create a fantastic destination that both island residents and visitors will want to visit.

‘The HWP will also benefit biodiversity and within the two fields at Crossags provide the Isle of Man’s first on-island carbon off-set scheme. A wonderful project benefitting wildlife and people within our UNESCO Biosphere.’

Chair of the Rotary Club of Douglas, Charles Fargher said: ‘The Rotary Club of Douglas is celebrating its centenary this year.

‘To mark the club’s past service to the island’s community we are delighted to be able to provide significant funding to this exciting project.

‘In so doing we are honouring those that went before us whilst at the same time investing in a project which will bring enormous benefit to the island’s community in the years ahead.’

Hairpin Woodland park will continue to be developed with new facilities, signage and information panels over the coming year.

Visitor information can be found at:

Sir John Lorimer, Lady Lorimer and their dog Midge enjoy the new reserve
Sir John Lorimer, Lady Lorimer and their dog Midge enjoy the new reserve (Graham Makepeace-Warne)