Role of Inland Waterways
The role of the Inland Waterways team is to develop the recreational and navigational potential of our Inland Waterways. Wherever practicable, works will incorporate disabled access facilities.
The Department also has ownership of, and custodial responsibility for, those remaining sections of the Lagan Canal that remain in Government ownership following abandonment of navigation in the 1950s. An ongoing programme is in place for this highly popular towpath to upgrade access for pedestrians, cyclists and disabled access.
With over 1,000,000 recorded visits a year, the 11-mile Lagan Towpath connecting Stranmillis, Belfast with Sprucefield, Lisburn as well as 3½ miles from Moira Station to Soldierstown Aghalee, qualifies as the most popular public pathway in Northern Ireland. It is also an integral part of the award-winning National Cycle Network (NCN) route between Lisburn and Jordanstown via Belfast.
A large part of the towpath runs through Lagan Valley Regional Park who have partnered with Google’s innovative Trekker Programme to map all tracks throughout the park. This information can be accessed directly through Google. However if you wish to check specific routes along the towpath these can be found on the Lagan Valley Regional Park website by clicking on the link below:
The Department for Infrastructure operates on the principle of Leave no Trace and we have a code of conduct which we ask all users of the towpath to abide by.
Anyone wishing to organise an event, such as a sponsored walk, on the towpath, should notify the Department (as owners) in advance for approval. To do this please email Walkingcyclingandinlandwaterways@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk.
The Department is also the sponsor department in Northern Ireland for Waterways Ireland which is the Cross-Border Body responsible for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of navigable waterways throughout the island of Ireland.