Ballyhalbert History

Glastry Brickworks & Nature Reserve


As you head out of Ballyhalbert towards Kircubbin, you pass Glastry Nature Reserve on the left hand side of the road.  The Nature Reserve was formed as a result of digging clay for the nearby Brickworks.

Glastry Brickworks closed in 1872 and was auctioned off on 31st December that year.  In it's heyday, the brickworks were capable of turning out between 15,000 and 20,000 bricks per day.  After Glastry Brickworks was closed, clay was still dug from here and transported to Belfast. 

A link between Glastry Brickworks and Castle Espie Brickworks outside Comber has been uncovered.  "In 1866, it was decided to build 24 new Kilns at Castle Espie.  To complete this mammoth task, over 1 million bricks were purchased from Kircubbin."  This means that Glastry Brickworks supplied the bricks for Castle Espie.

The land comprising the disused clay pits and adjoining land, comprised some 40 acres and was presented to the National Trust.  Glastry Educational Nature Reserve was opened by Lord Melchett, Minister for Education, on 21st March 1978.

Over the years the Nature Reserve became overgrown and something of a dumping ground for rubbish.  In 2008 the Ballyhalbert Community Association began work at the Nature Reserve to clean and restore the site for visitors.