Perfect views make it a pedal to remember
Today’s route round the Inis Eoghain Cycleway is a feast for the eyes, offering spectacular views over Lough Swilly, Inch Island, the Inis Eoghain Peninsula and south towards the Sperrins.
Starting in the City of Derry, set off along the Riverside cycle path on the west bank of the River Foyle. Cycle northwards towards the Foyle Bridge, passing Sainsbury’s on your left. Passing through the Fort George site, you will see the new jetty on the right hand side still under construction.
The path joins the Bay Road — turn right and pass Da Vinci’s Hotel on your left. You will now enter Bay Park. Follow the main path, taking the left option at all the junctions, and heading towards the Foyle Bridge. Passing under the bridge, you will see the ruins of Boom Hall ahead of you.
Take Boom Hall Lane to where it emerges on to Culmore Road. At the Madam’s Bank roundabout cycle up Madam’s Bank Road.
At Steelstown use the Toucan crossing to cross to Old Carn Lane giving access to Ballyarnett Country Park. An underpass at the exit of the park takes you to Glengalliagh Road. Follow the signage and cross to the other side of the Glengalliagh road.
The path joins Collon Lane bringing you to the Templemore Sport Complex. Cross the road and cycle past the Leisure Centre, emerging on to the A2 Buncrana Road. Cross, using the Toucan crossing, to the Branch Road and cycle to the next roundabout at Rafters. Turn right and take the Coshquin Road, passing Groarty Primary School on the right hand side. Stay on this road for approximately 2.5 miles. After crossing the road to Bridgend, take the next left. Stay on this road for approximately two miles, then turn right at the crossroads. The road descends towards Burt.
A diversion at this point is to carry straight on — cross the N13 at Burt and cycle to the shores of Lough Swilly.
Following the original left turn, this road climbs past An Grianan Aileach. After joining the road merging from the right, take the next right towards Bogay Hill.
Take care crossing the N13. After just over a mile take a left turn to cycle round Finwell Hill. A diversion after two miles will take you to a ruined church. Back to the route — Burt Castle can be seen on the left. The route meanders through Blanket Nook until it crosses the N13 again — take care at this point — reaching the back of Newtowncunningham chapel with its modern design based on St Peter’s Barque. Cycle towards the village, or take a diversion to the left to take you to a Centra supermarket. Following the route, in the village turn left opposite the row of shops. This road is known as Long Lane and will take you three miles up and down hills to Church Town. Turn left towards Carrigans passing the Monreagh Manse Ulster Scots Heritage Centre on your right.
On the edge of the village of Carrigans, be sure to follow the signage diverting you round the back of the village to avoid crossing the busy road on a bad bend. Crossing the border to Northern Ireland follow the signs to the traffic-free Foyle Valley Greenway.
As you cycle along the Riverside route you will see ongoing work on the new cycling and walking Peace Bridge across the River Foyle crossing from the Guildhall to the former Ebrington Barracks site.
There are several historic sites along the route, An Grianan Aileach, Burt Castle and Derry’s Walls, and magnificent views of Lough Swilly and the Inis Eoghain Peninsula.
Monreagh Ulster-Scots Heritage Centre is on the route between the villages of Carrigans and the townland of Church Town in Co Donegal. Ballyarnett Country Park is the site of the Amelia Earhart Cottage which houses an exhibition on her unexpected landing in the city in 1932 when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
For further information on cycling or any other outdoor activity, please contact Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN), tel: 028 9030 3930 or www.cycleni.com.
CAAN in association with Belfast Telegraph have provided this information. Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of the information. CAAN and Belfast Telegraph, however, cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions but where such are brought to our attention, the information for future publications will be amended accordingly.
Cycle Name: Inis Eoghain Cycleway.
Area: East Donegal between Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly.
Nearest big town to start point: Londonderry.
Distance: A 55km circular route.
Terrain: Some steep terrain.
Refreshments: A large variety of facilities available in Derry/Londonderry. Centra in Newtowncunningham serves food.
Publications: Route map available at www.sustrans.org.uk/map?key=*ERIE01&type=ER
Cycle Developed By: Sustrans and North West region cross-border group.
Map: Sheet 7 of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discoverer Series.