Inland Waterways, the Lagan Towpath and the Department's work with, the cross-border body, Waterways Ireland.

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.

Lagan towpath

Construction work on the tidal flood defences in the Ormeau area will begin on Wednesday 17 August. Phase 1 of these works will last 4 months with construction beginning on the Lagan Towpath from Ormeau Rd to McConnell Lock. This section of the towpath will be closed during this time. Pedestrians will be diverted via Ormeau Rd onto Cooke St to access along the towpath from River Terrace to East Bridge St. Cyclists will be diverted to cycle lanes on Ormeau Embankment and Ravenhill Rd between Ormeau Bridge and Albert Bridge. Cyclist access will also be given from East Bridge St to Gasworks.  No through passage.  We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
Ormeau Diversion Routes

Belfast Tidal Flood Alleviation Scheme work will begin on the Lagan Towpath around Stranmillis Wharf apartments on Monday 18 July. The Scheme will help protect homes in the area at risk of flooding.
Pedestrians/Cyclists diverted to segregated area on Lockview Road.
Lockview Cycle Route 
Stranmillis Cycle Route

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 which also has other useful information about the towpath and the Regional Park:

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:

Waterways Ireland

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.

Related to Waterways

Access to information

How to request information from the Department for Infrastructure including Freedom of Information (FOI) and the use of our Publication Scheme.

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