Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Walk of the Week: Ballymoney Heritage Trail

Ballymoney is an historic market town that lies at the heart of the Causeway Coast and Glens.

The area features beautiful countryside, fantastic cycling and walking routes, challenging forest trails and the River Bann, a wonderful outdoor recreational resource.

Ballymoney Heritage Trail features a self-guided walking tour of the finest built heritage within Ballymoney Market Town, where you can discover more about the people and places from the past.

For more of a challenge, try the Croaghan Way Hill Walking Route, a five-mile hike within the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Or if it’s something more leisurely you require, visit the Ballymoney Riverside Park in the town situated on National Cycle Network 96 and featuring the new Railway Station shared use bridge, one of the longest footbridges in Ireland. There are many historic monuments and churches well worth a visit, including those on the featured Ballymoney Heritage Trail.

Directions

From the A26 Frosses Road, follow signs for Ballymoney town centre, museum and tourist information centre, which will bring you to Townhead Street free car park.

Pick up a Heritage Guide from the tourist information centre in the Town Hall opposite the car park and follow the 16 points of interest highlighted on the guide map (back page).

The first point of interest is Ballymoney Town Hall  — from here proceed along Townhead Street, crossing North Road and into St James's Road to view St James's Presbyterian Church. Retrace your steps to the Town Hall and continue down High Street to its junction with Charlotte Street where you will see the Northern Bank Building. Turn right into Charlotte Street and walk along to view Ballymoney Reformed Presbyterian Church and the Old Court House.

Retrace your steps back to High Street and the Diamond, where you can view the Masonic Hall and Town Clock on the right. Proceed straight ahead along Church Street, passing the Old Bankhouse on the right. At the end of Church Street on the right is the Old Church Tower (8) and ahead on the left is St Patrick's Parish Church.

Now on Queen Street, continue to the roundabout at Rodeing Foot. On the other side of the road is Trinity Presbyterian Church. At Mathewson's Chemist make a right turn into Meeting House Street and continue along this road, passing Ballymoney First Presbyterian Church  on the left. At the traffic lights turn left into Seymour Street to view the Railway Station Building and Ballymoney Methodist Church.

Retrace your steps to the traffic lights, taking the opportunity to visit the Joey Dunlop Memorial Garden en route. Crossing over, continue left along Castle Street to the Church of Our Lady & St Patrick and the Kirgan Monument  located in the adjacent graveyard.

This completes the heritage trail. Retrace your steps along Castle Street, taking a left up Main Street and back to the Townhead Street Car Park opposite the Town Hall.

The Backdrop

The trail focuses on Ballymoney’s finest built heritage and one of the best examples is right at the start of the walk, namely Ballymoney Town Hall. Erected in 1866, the building now houses the Arts Centre, Museum and Tourist Information Centre and is a great place to start and gather information about the Borough. Inside are rooms commemorating some of Ballymoney’s most celebrated historical figures, including George Shiels, the playwright, KK McArthur, the Olympic gold medallist, and James Cramsie, who helped to establish the town’s first museum and subscribed more than £400 to the building of the Town Hall.

At about the halfway point in the walk is Ballymoney’s Old Church Tower on Church Street. The tower is the oldest surviving building in the town with a datestone inscribed 1637. The church was rebuilt after it was burned during the 1641 Irish Rebellion and was used until 1782.

Further information

For further information on walking or any other outdoor activity, please contact Outdoor Recreation NI (formerly CAAN) at, tel: 028 9030 3930 or walkni.com.

Outdoor Recreation NI (formerly CAAN) in association with Belfast Telegraph have provided this information. Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of the information. Outdoor Recreation NI 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: Ballymoney Heritage Trail.

Nearest big town to start point: Ballymoney.

Distance: 2.5 miles.

Time: 1 hour to complete this walk.

Terrain: Public footpaths largely on the flat with the exception of Ballymoney Main Street which lies on a hill.

Access Restrictions: There are no access restrictions as the trail is wholly on public footpaths and accessible toilets are available in the Town Hall at the start/finish of the walk.

Facilities: As this is a town centre trail, refreshments and toilets are available along the route.

Publications: Ballymoney Heritage Guide. Guide available free of charge from Ballymoney TIC, tel: 028 2766 0230 or download at ballymoney.gov.uk.

Walk Developed By: Ballymoney Museum.

Map: Sheet 8 of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discoverer Series, available from Land & Property Services Map Shop (lpsni.gov.uk).

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