Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Ulster Walks: Ballymacran Bank

Pack your binoculars and a flask of tea and head for Limavady for a refreshing walk along the shores of Lough Foyle.



This coastal walk is the perfect place to watch thousands of wildfowl, such as whooper swans and light-bellied brent geese, fresh from migrating thousands of miles from their summer breeding grounds in the Arctic.

It’s now peak time for many of these migrating birds to arrive and they will then over-winter on Lough Foyle or use it as a staging post to head off to other wintering grounds.

The route offers a flat path but it can be uneven in places. It commands spectacular views towards the Inishowen Peninsula.

Directions

From the B69 Seacoast Rd from Limavady, turn left onto Lomond Rd (B510). At T junction, turn right and then left after 500 metres. Follow the road through a sharp left-hand bend to come to sea wall.

Carefully park up at the end junction of the road and track. From the access road, turn right to follow the sea wall or road north with the Lough Foyle Shore on your left. When you reach the railway line return via your outward route.

The Backdrop

Lough Foyle, situated at the mouth of the River Foyle, is one of the largest catchments of Irish sea loughs.

The remote mudflats and fields clustering along the lough shores are the ideal place to see majestic visitors such as whooper swan, light-bellied brent goose and bar-tailed godwit.

Among the wildfowl species overwintering at Lough Foyle are the red-throated diver, great-crested grebe, mute swan, Bewick’s swan, greylag goose, shelduck, common teal, mallard, wigeon, common eider, and red-breasted merganser.

Bring your binoculars and you may also spot oystercatchers, the scarce golden plover, grey plover, lapwing, red knot, dunlin, curlew, common redshank and greenshank sifting the mudflats.

The best time to spot brent geese, whooper swans and wigeons is in the early winter months. The best vantage points are on the minor roads off the A2 between Limavady and Londonderry.

Nearby Ballykelly was built in the early-mid 1600s as a Plantation Village. The original village house plans from that era show the ‘bawn’ or defensive wall around the big house — known as a defensive mechanism which helped in the early 1640s when it was affected by a rebellion.

Limavady town itself and many of the surrounding villages have Celtic roots. No one knows for sure just how old the original settlement of Limavady is. The Celts first arrived in Ireland about 350 BC and settlements in the Banagher area of the Limavady Borough date from before the 5th century AD.

Responsible Walking

CAAN endorses the principles of Leave No Trace, which mean recreational users can minimise their impact on the countryside while still enjoying activities with freedom. For more information, visit www.leaveno|traceireland.org.

Further information

For further information on walking or any other outdoor activity, please contact Countryside Access and Activities Network at 028 9030 3930 or www.walkni.com.

Countryside Access and Activities Network (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. Walk Name: |Ballymacran Bank

Area: County Co Londonderry

Nearest big town to start point: |Ballykelly or Limavady

Distance: 1.5 miles

Terrain: Rough track and sea wall

Refreshments: Refreshments in |Limavady & Ballykelly and toilets in Limavady.

Walk Developed By: This walk has been developed and maintained by the Loughs Agency.

Map: Sheet 4 or 7 of |Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discoverer Series, available from Land & Property Services Map Shop, Lincoln Buildings 27-45 Great Victoria Street Belfast BT2 7SL (www.lpsni.gov.uk)

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