For many years, Colin Glen was synonymous with the linen industry, with the Colin River facilitating bleachworks for the Suffolk Linen Company and Killeen Bleach Works.
The surrounding properties in the estate also housed the McCance family, owners of the aforementioned businesses and were then sold along with all of Colin Glen to the McMaster family, furniture manufacturers.
The Glen was once a dark, sacred and neglected place with sites known as Eastwood’s Tip and Rosbothams Tip. The path network was unrecognisable and the Colin River was choked with pollution and waste.
Over 150,000 tonnes of rubbish was once dumped in Colin Glen and 1,000s of tonnes removed from the river during the clean up. The army of volunteers and staff worked tirelessly and over 5,000 metres of trails were constructed along with five bridges, meaning people could now walk the Glen again.
60,000 trees were then planted by school children in Belfast and with their help, the forest slowly came to life. It became a sanctuary for wildlife and the community and continues to grow.
In later years, part of the Glen was bought by the National Trust until eventually the whole Colin Glen area was taken over by Colin Glen Trust in 1989.
Colin Glen Trust was formed in October 1989 to succeed several Action for Community Employment organisations in the local area and is overseen by a voluntary Board of Directors, representative of both communities in the area.
The Trust moved into its current office in 1995, providing office accommodation and public access space (including exhibition space and teaching rooms).
Trust Board Members
- Chairman David Raymond
- Jenny Palmer
- Tim Attwood
- Sinead Cavanagh
The Board and Colin Glen’s now expansive team of professionals and outdoor specialists plan to develop its offering even further over the coming years to ensure the future of the Trust and the conservation of Colin Glen Forest Park and its surrounding areas.