Walk of the Week: Bann Boulevard
The Bann Boulevard is the beginning of the Newry Canal Way which links Portadown to Newry.
The path is a beautiful walk offering a uniquely peaceful stroll in what is a bustling town. The boulevard is lined with mature poplars along its edge and follows the western bank of the River Bann. The path winds naturally through hedges of bustling wildlife and flowers in bloom.
The Bann Boulevard is best accessed at its starting point in the car park near to Portadown Boat Club, behind the Meadows Shopping Centre, off Meadow Lane.
This walk begins from Portadown Boat Club. Here you join the towpath, keeping the River Bann to your left until you come to the Point of Whitecoat where the River Bann, Cusher and Newry Canal converge.
At this point you can cross the bridge and continue along the towpath to Knock Bridge and beyond or return along the same path back to the car park.
The Newry Canal was the first summit level canal in the British Isles and operated for 200 years before the birth of the rail network in the 1850s led to the waterway’s death.
Measuring 20 miles long and linking Carlingford Lough with Lough Neagh and beyond, the Newry Canal was completed in 1741. The first boat on the water was called The Cope of Lough Neagh.
‘Lighters’, ‘dredgers’ and ‘ice boats’ pulled along by horses on the towpath all frequented the canal at one time or another. When in use the canal was used to transport bulk goods including linen, sand, grain, brick and timber.
Today the Boulevard is a recreational paradise most popular with walkers, cyclists, rowers, canoeists and fishermen alike.
The River Bann and Portadown Boat Club are home to many dedicated rowers who can regularly be seen out on the water, either training or competing.
This wonderful path is home to many species of wildlife and plants including the magnificent kingfishers, whooper swans and pintail. The many hedges are a secret haven for bees and butterflies during the summer months when they make the path their own.
The vibrant flowers and abundance of wildlife inject life into the canal, creating a truly unique experience once lost when the waterway was abandoned.
The point of Whitecoat Bridge marks the end of the Bann Boulevard where three waterways meet — River Bann, Cusher River and Newry Canal. The tubed bridge is a sight to behold once the winding towpath opens up to reveal the rolling countryside beyond. Here walkers can stop and study the Millennium Post artwork.
Whitecoat is a beautiful place to simply stop and enjoy the view with a drink in hand, and is a satisfying reward at the end of your stroll before dandering back. Beyond the Point of Whitecoat lies Moneypenny’s Lockhouse, Scarva and for those feeling especially energetic — Newry.
For further information on walking or any other outdoor activity, please contact Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland at, tel: 028 9030 3930 or walkni.com.
Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland (formerly CAAN) in association with Belfast Telegraph has provided this information. Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of the information. Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland 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: Bann Boulevard
Nearest big town to start point: Portadown
Distance: 1 mile
Terrain: The Bann Boulevard is a wide, flat, linear riverside walk.
Suitability: This flat tarmac path is ideal for walkers of all levels of fitness and mobility.
Access Restrictions: The Newry Canal Towpath code states that walkers have right of way. Therefore cyclists and dog owners should be considerate to other users and observe the Codes of Practice on a shared-use path. Please note, there are two gates along the Bann Boulevard located near the Portadown Boat Club.
Refreshments: Toilets and refreshments are available in Portadown Town Centre.
Publications: ‘Walking and Cycling in Craigavon’ available from Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Oxford Island, Annaloiste Road, Lurgan (028) 3832 2205.
Walk Developed By: This walk has been developed and is maintained by Craigavon Borough Council.
Map: Sheet 20 of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discovery Series, available from LPSNI Map Shop, Colby House, Stranmillis, Belfast BT9 SBJ. lpsni.gov.uk