Waterside Walks

Our delightful mosaic of landscape and seascape offers a superb backdrop to a walk.  The day tripper and the serious walker will find a walk that meets their expectations.  Superb walking routes cross the world famous Mourne Mountains that fringe the north shore of Carlingford Lough, with the outstanding mountains of the Cooley peninsula offering similar opportunity on the opposite shore.  Following the flow of the Foyle, its tributaries and rugged coastline provide stunning view points of dense valleys as well as across the sea as far as Scotland.

Foyle – Ballymacran and Ballykelly Lough Shore

This is a spectacular coastal walk along Lough Foyle (Northern Ireland’s biggest estuary) with great views of the hills of Inishowen and Binevenagh. A perfect place to observe the waders and wildfowl that visit Lough Foyle and to be thrilled by their evocative calls.  Walking along Ballymacran Bank by the shore of Lough Foyle, the walker can savour a backdrop of Binevenagh Mountain to the northeast and the famed hills of Donegal punctuating the Inishowen skyline to the west.

Foyle – Banagher Dam

This is a short walk through a steep wooded glen, one of the oldest ancient oak woodlands in Ireland to Altnaheglish Reservoir and Banagher Dam. The gate to the car park is open from June to September 9.00 am-9.00 pm at weekends. During July and August, it is open daily from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm. However, access to the reserve is available all year round by parking just outside the reserve gate.

Foyle – Claudy Park

The park is sign-posted on the Cumber Road (B49), just outside the village of Claudy. The route follows about 1 mile paths through the former grounds of Cumber House and along the River Faughan and Glenrandal RiverThe woodland consists of mature beech, oak, willow and silver birch. Back on board, keep with the Faughan until it meets Glenrandal River.  There is also a children’s play area close by.

Foyle – Gortin Glens

Enjoy a range of waymarked trails which start in the main car park and enjoy the park’s natural flora and fauna at its best. All the trails are colour coded and return to the car park.  People with mobility difficulties will love the five mile long drive with breathtaking views. As well as walking, visitors can mountain bike and horse ride in the area although a permit is required for horse riding. Orienteering trails can be devised to suit all ages and abilities. There are also camping and BBQ facilities on site.  A brand new play sculpture has also been recently installed. Inspired by its natural surroundings, the new wooden sculpture is sure to fascinate the kids with plenty of opportunities for exploration and play.  Standing four metres tall, the carved sculpture is composed entirely of Larch, Red Cedar and Oak with the centrepiece, a family of Red Deer, chosen specifically to reflect the importance of the Forest Park’s relationship with its much loved inhabitants.

With the centrepiece surrounded by a wheelchair-friendly boardwalk, bridge and auditorium, each element of this play sculpture is designed to allow for exploration at differing heights, mirroring the steep topography of the Forest Park’s own natural landscape.  Visitors can find the play sculpture across the stream from the main car park in Gortin Glen Forest Park.

Foyle – Gortin Lakes

This short off-road walk leads around Gortin Lakes with superb views of the Sperrins landscape.  The gravel path around the lakes undulates gently offering the tranquillity of the still, deep water on one side and the natural habitat and vegetation on the other.  The path is easily followed with a number of seating benches placed so walkers can take a rest and take in the majestic views.

Foyle – Inishowen Head

The ancient territory (The Land of the O’ Doherty’s), of County Donegal is the most northerly part of Ireland. Its northern shore is on the restless Atlantic Ocean with Lough Swilly forming its western boundary and Lough Foyle to the east. Monuments of an earlier age grow from the landscape as castles, towers and ancient churches. The Celtic crosses and the pagan monuments come together in a colourful tapestry with these great houses of the last century. The Inishowen Peninsula possesses such a range of sights and attractions that is often referred to as ‘Ireland in Miniature’. This is the undiscovered Ireland, a world apart, a timeless place. The nature of the scenery, combined with outdoor sporting facilities, provide the ideal base for an activity holiday. This loop starts at a car park area at a World War 2 Lookout Tower atop Inishowen Head. On this wild and remote loop you pass the point from where St Columba left Ireland on his way to Iona (Portkill) and a viewing point from where, on some fine days, the west of Scotland is visible.

Foyle – Longfield Embankment

This is a spectacular lough shore walk along the edges of the Foyle estuary (Northern Ireland’s biggest estuary) with great views of the hills of Inishowen and Binevenagh. A perfect place to observe the waders and wildfowl that visit Lough Foyle and to be thrilled by their evocative calls.

Foyle – Loughmacrory

Walking around the shore of Loughmacrory is a refreshing and relaxing way to unwind. Enjoy the flora and fauna of this beautiful, unspoilt freshwater environment and enjoy the changing views of the lough from around its shoreline. You might be lucky enough to glimpse the electric blue flash of a kingfisher or see the swans and wild geese that visit or the wild duck that hatch and rear their young at the north side of the lough. You’re sure to see the indigenous brown trout surface for food.

Foyle – Malin Head

Banba’s Crown at Malin Head, Inishowen, Co. Donegal, is the most northerly point of the Irish mainland and is named after Banba was one of the mythical queens of Ireland. At Banba’s Crown you can’t miss the building known locally as the “The Tower” which was built in 1908 by the Admiralty, and later used as a Lloyds Signal Station. Not only is this Ireland’s most northerly point, but an area of great scenic beauty, and of historical, scientific and ecological importance.

Not surprisingly it is also a perfect starting point for a remarkable ramble along a newly developed coastal walk overlooking the cliffs to Hell’s Hole, a subterranean cavern 250 feet long and 8 feet wide, into which the wild Atlantic ocean crashes in with great force. The walk has plenty of benches sited along the way to take in the breathtaking views. This is well worth a visit. Enjoy this stunning walk and Ireland at its best. Banba Crown, Malin Head, nestled in Inishowen, Co. Donegal.

Foyle – Moorlough

A quiet upland lake route in Strabane`s countryside.  From the parking area beside the public toilets, follow the gravel path around the edge of the lough in either direction. Moor Lough and it`s shoreline have been developed as a Dept. of Culture, Arts and Leisure fishery. Moorlough has several beaches and a segregated paddling area available for use. A gravel track which circumnavigates the lough makes most of the shoreline accessible for all.

Foyle – Muff Glen

With 34 hectares of mixed woodland, all of which straddles a valley alongside the Muff River, the forest provides a welcome retreat for the local residents of Eglinton and visitors from surrounding areas. This is a scenic circular walk through the woods with some steep steps and a waterfall.

Foyle – Ness Woods

This steep wooded glen is a remnant of extensive natural oakwoods and comprises 20 ha, with riverside/woodland paths including wooden steps & footbridges, habitat of many different species of wildlife and birdlife. The site is also an ASSI and is NIEA owned and managed. Recent development work in the park now means the walk extends along both sides of the Burntollet River joining Ness and Ervey Woods. It also includes an area of level meadow, providing easy-access walking for less able visitors. The Park has wildlife ponds, picnic tables, wildflower meadows and a new Visitor Centre where you can view an exhibition on woodland biodiversity.

Foyle – River Foyle Walk City to Carrigans

This award-winning route connects the historic Walled City of Derry to the border towns of Lifford and Strabane on a mix of traffic-free paths and quiet country roads.  The route starts beneath the city walls in Derry City. It runs parallel to the River Foyle towards the Co Donegal border on the resurfaced track bed of the Great Northern Railway, following National Route 92 signs.

Foyle – River Foyle Walk City to Newbuildings

Just upstream of the Craigavon Bridge, beside the old Fishery’s Building and Ice House the path slips down toward the River Foyle.  The path runs along the river, past the Prehen Boathouse, Loughs Agency building and through football pitches until rejoins the road.  The path leads out to Newbuildings with beautiful views over the river.

Foyle – River Foyle Walk Ebrington to Gransha

The Waterside Greenway runs between Ebrington and Gransha, following the flow of the River Foyle.  The tarmac route is completely off road and is well lit.  Watch out for wading birds and ducks along the river.  You might even notice a seal or two popping its head up.

Foyle – Roe Valley Country Park

Roe Valley Country Park offers a variety of routes along the riverside and through woodland. Combining legend with industrial and natural heritage the park has great appeal.  A variety of paths exist throughout this linear park which runs for approx. 3.5 miles either side of the River Roe. See park leaflet and on site interpretation.  There is also a Sensory Trail particularly designed for the visually impaired.

Foyle – Strabane Canal

A walk along a canal in the process of being restored. Excellent views of the River Foyle and across to Donegal can be gained from the most northern point of the walk.  At Devine’s Lock is an interpretative panel briefly outlining the canal`s history. From here follow the trail north as it leads along the canal edge, passing two footbridges which cross the canal, before arriving at Crampsie`s Lock (immediately after the second bridge) . Continue and pass through the kissing gate onto the earth track and follow this to its end at the bird hide. From here stunning views of the River Foyle and East Donegal can be enjoyed. Retrace your steps until reaching the second bridge crossing which features interpretation on the bio- diversity of the Foyle River System. Cross to the opposite bank and continue your walk back to the car park.

Carlingford – Fairy Glen at Rostrevor

The Fairy Glen in Rostrevor provides the start of a pleasant walk with varied scenery from gentle riverside to scenic parkland and woodland. The Fairy Glen is on the left immediately after the bridge beside the entrance to Kilbroney Park.  As part of the walk you will enjoy the spectacular views over Carlingford Lough.

Carlingford – Louth Greenway

Carlingford Lough may or may not be a true fjord but everyone, both before and since the Vikings who named it, recognises its scenic beauty and peace. Louth County Council has built a new footpath and cycleway, the Great Eastern Greenway, along the lough’s southern shore. Built mostly along the old railway line, the Greenway connects Omeath and Carlingford and as an old railway line it’s also very level.  It’s a great place for a walk and ideal for novice cyclists, including the wee ones. The Greenway provides great views across the lough to the mountains of Mourne, while Slieve Foy towers over it on the Louth side. The Greenway runs through fields full of grazing sheep, over old level crossings and even a few bridges. There are trees, wildflowers and birds to be seen along most of the way too.

Carlingford – Newry Canal

The Newry Canal Way is a 20 mile long distance route running from Portadown to Newry along the restored towpath of the former Newry Canal. This linear walk/cycle route provides a flat, level surface suitable for all. This walk takes in a section of the route, between Knock Bridge and Poyntzpass.  The towpath is part of Route 9 National Cycle Network so be aware of the joint use of this path by pedestrians and cyclists. This relaxing walk follows the towpath of the former Newry Portadown Canal, completed in 1742, it was Britain’s first truly summit-level canal. At Knock Bridge take the towpath south towards Newry. The canal is on the left as you walk along this section and the River Cusher and the Belfast to Dublin railway to the right. The towpath was used by the horses which pulled the canal boats, known as lighters, along the canal. The canal runs for 18 miles from the Point of Whitecoat, just south of Portadown, to Victoria Locks at the sea south of Newry. It meanders along the borders of Counties Down and Armagh from Lough Neagh to the sea at Carlingford Lough. The inland canal ceased to operate commercially over 60 years ago.