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Walk of the Week: Buttermilk Bridge

By Linda Stewart

Broughshane is known as the Garden Village of Ulster, thanks to its spectacular summer floral displays. More than 75,000 flowers are planted every year and this has won the village a host of national and international awards.

This walk is a short circular route along the Braid River, the Knockan Road and the Main Street in Broughshane.


Broughshane is located on the main A42 road from Ballymena to Carnlough. This walk starts from Houston’s Mill Car Park in Broughshane Village.

Follow the path that leads to Broughshane Main Street. Take care crossing the road to the entry archway of the Buttermilk Bridge Walk.

Follow the path in an anti-clockwise direction, staying close to the river until you reach the play park and car park. Turn left and go down Knockan Road to Main Street, turn left and proceed back to the Houston's Mill site.

The path is well maintained and has no steep inclines or obstacles, making it wheelchair-user-friendly, although be aware that there are a few drains and uneven patches in places on the Main Street.

The Backdrop

Houston’s Mill was an old Flax/Corn Mill with a history dating back to the early days of the Irish linen industry.

The mill is located in peaceful rural surroundings in the beautiful award-winning village of Broughshane, known by communities all over the world for its success in the competitive floral arena, having won Ulster in Bloom, Britain in Bloom, the European Entente Florale and Nations in Bloom — some events several times.

In the millennium year of 2000 the mill was fully restored to its original state to provide a facility for the local community, which, in addition to the cottage accommodation, has a community office with fax, photocopying and email facilities.

Little Acorn Wood is a 16-acre community woodland that has been created along the riverside path and developed and managed by the Woodland Trust.

The Thatch Inn is a two-storey, six-bay 18th century inn with a thatched roof, situated in a central position in the village.

Wildlife to look out for on the walk would be the dipper, heron, kingfisher, mallard, moorhen, yellow wagtail and meadow brown butterfly — plus a collection of exotic ducks in the pond. Fishing permits are available locally.

Responsible Walking

CAAN endorses the principles of Leave No Trace, which mean recreational users can minimize their impact on the countryside whilst still enjoying activities with freedom. For more information, visit

What to bring

As a general rule, it is best to be overprepared than underprepared. Waterproof and windproof clothing are essential and strong walking boots are also advised. Walkers should carry enough food and water for the walk and for emergencies as well as taking a first aid kit. As a further safety precaution, you are advised to inform someone of your intended route before you leave.

Further information

For further information on walking or any other outdoor activity, please contact: Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, The Stableyard, Barnett’s Demesne, Malone Rd, Belfast BT9 5PB (tel: 028 9030 3930) or

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: Buttermilk Bridge.

Area: Co Antrim.

Nearest big town to start point: Ballymena.

Distance: 1.5 miles/2.4km.

Time: The walk should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Terrain: The walk uses relatively level public paths.

Refreshments: There are toilet facilities and refreshments available in Broughshane village.

Publications: ‘Ballymena Walks – Your guide to short walks around the borough’. Available from The Braid Tourist Information Centre in Ballymena Town Hall Museum and Arts Centre.

Walk Developed By: This walk has been developed and is maintained by Ballymena District Council.

Map: Sheet 9 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 (

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