This ramble may be undertaken in one, two, three or four parts or all together. The ramble follows most of the length of the Lagan Valley Regional Park.
Point of interest:River, canal, locks, bridges, wildlife
Nearest town:Belfast (Stranmillis)
OS map:Sheets 15 & 20
Terrain:Flat tarmac footpath
Route:Part 1 – Stranmillis to Shaws Bridge (2.5 miles)
From the car park off Lockview Road turn right past the boathouse. Lagan Meadows is on your right hand side, go straight on, Moreland meadows will be on your left (an island formed by the canal – long curve in path cutting off meander of the river). Continue along the tarmac path until it veers left over a long 4 foot wooden bridge, pass a hump backed stone bridge then turn left and cross wooden bridge, turn right follow beech hedge path under new bridge. Take the path to the left up a zigzag ramp to Shaw’s Bridge. Cross over the bridge to the car park.
Part 2 – Shaw’s bridge to Drum Bridge (3 miles)
Enter the gate at the left hand side of the bridge; go straight on at the junction avoiding the steep slope to the towpath on the left. After several hundred metres there is a metal gate with an entrance on the left. Pass a large wooden bridge on left, before rougher path and steep drop to the river. Go under a footbridge, notice junction of canal and river. Here the path divides, right up a steep slope to the un-footpathed, busy Malone Road – avoid this. Go to the left, under the bridge, however, ahead is a problem in the form of a narrow (but well railed) metal footbridge. This must be crossed either to continue onward to Lambeg or to exit to the car park at Drumbeg. The footbridge itself - 30’ side width, 34’ base presents no problem to pavement scooters. However the path's approach to it from the Drumbeg side is not large enough to safely line up scooters/wheelchairs to its entrance without considerable assistance to avoid capsize. If no such help is available, return to Shaws Bridge and re-enter at Drum Bridge car park where the footbridge can be by passed by following the sharp curve before the bridge to the left.
Part 3 – Drum bridge to Lambeg (2.5 miles)
Onward is Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park. The fields along the towpath were once part of the largest bleach green in the Lagan Valley. Shortly on the towpath enters a tunnel under the M1 before once again the canal re-emerges. Half a mile further is the 8th lock and a red sandstone viaduct, the Ballyskeagh Bridge. Approaching Lambeg is the large Coca Cola bottling plant. This section of the towpath ends at Tullynacross Road.
Part 4 – Lambeg to Lisburn (2-2.5 miles)
The towpath follows the canal away from Lambeg Bridge. Further up stream is the Mill Quay with the rings and bollards for tying up barges. A little further on is the Blue Bridge a pedestrian footbridge, then on to the impressive Civic centre of the new City of Lisburn.
Facilities:Fishing platforms, picnic tables. At Island Civic Centre: disabled toilets, self service restaurant, exhibitions and information.
Accessible toilet facilities:Yes
Accessible terrain:Scooters: 1 Easy
Pushed Wheelchairs: 1-2 Easy to Moderately Easy (if done in stages).
Surfaces sound throughout
Publication:Out 'n' bout: A New Frontier
Getting to the start by public transport:For the purpose of this description the ramble starts at the car park off Lockview Road at Stranmillis, South Belfast and ends at the Island Civic Centre, Lisburn