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Barnett Demesne and the River Lagan

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Barnett Demesne and the River Lagan
Author: WalkNI, Published: 25 Sep 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star0  Barnett Demesne and the River Lagan Walking Guidestar0  Barnett Demesne and the River Lagan Walking Guidestar0  Barnett Demesne and the River Lagan Walking Guidestar0  Barnett Demesne and the River Lagan Walking Guidestar0  Barnett Demesne and the River Lagan Walking Guide
Antrim, Belfast
Walk Type: Garden or park
Barnett Demesne and the River Lagan
Length: 2 miles,  Difficulty: boot  Barnett Demesne and the River Lagan Walking Guide boot  Barnett Demesne and the River Lagan Walking Guide
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This 1.5m route explores the historic estate in Lagan Valley Regional Park near Belfast, through meadows and woodland. Barnett Demesne is the home to tree and plant collections with semi-natural features such as woodland and wildflower meadows, many wild animals, including rabbits, badgers and grey and red squirrels, and birds such as jays, rooks and a range of songbirds. More than 70 species of wildflower grow in the meadows during the summer months.

The park, which is named after William Barnett, the last owner of Malone House, is popular with walkers and joggers due to its proximity to the River Lagan, Shaw's Bridge and nearby Clement Wilson Park. It is home to an annual Spring Fair, which offers music, entertainment and wildlife displays each April. Park features include an arboretum, daffodil garden, eco-trail, orienteering routes and children's playground (near Shaw's Bridge). Refreshments are available in the Barnett Restaurant in nearby Malone House.

The park opens at 7.30am daily. Closing times vary according to the time of year. The route follows surfaced and unsurfaced paths which can be muddy after periods of wet weather. There are several climbs and descents throughout, including some steep hills. There are no stiles and only one kissing gate on the route. Part of the route follows the Lagan River so take care with children and dogs. Allow up to 1 hour.

The walk starts and finishes at the Malone House car park. The car park and entrance is signposted from the A55 Outer Ring Road, near the House of Sport roundabout. For public transport use Metro Services: 8A-8C (get off at Dub shops, follow Dub Lane). The nearest postcode is BT9 5PB.

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Walk Sections

Start to Towpath
Start to Towpath

Start point: 54.5527 lat, -5.9589 long
End point: 54.5518 lat, -5.954 long

Start the walk from the Malone House car park. Follow the path round the front of the house and alongside the security fence.

Malone House is a Georgian mansion built in the 1820s by William Wallace Legge, a prominent Belfast merchant. The estate passed to the Harberton family, and finally to the last owner William Barnett. The house is now managed by Belfast City Council as a conference and function centre.

Follow this path downhill pausing on the way to admire the views over the Lagan Valley, across to Minnowburn beeches and the wildflower meadows on your right. There are over eleven acres of meadows in Barnett Demesne, containing more than seventy species of wild flowers. The meadows are also home to an abundance of invertebrates including beetles, flies, moths, grasshoppers and many species of butterfly - meadow brown, ringlet, green-veined white and small copper to name a few.

At the bottom of the hill turn right along the towpath, taking time to admire the old Shaw’s Bridge.

Towpath to Woodland
Towpath to Woodland

Start point: 54.5518 lat, -5.954 long
End point: 54.5479 lat, -5.9642 long

Follow the towpath for some distance as it winds alongside the river.

The River Lagan (from Irish Abhainn an Lagáin, meaning "river of the low-lying district”) is a major river in Northern Ireland which runs 53.5 miles (86 km) from the Slieve Croob mountain in County Down to Belfast where it enters Belfast Lough, an inlet of the Irish Sea. The River Lagan forms much of the border between County Antrim and County Down in the east of Ulster. This very popular path runs along the river in total for 13 miles (20km), linking Stranmillis in Belfast to Lisburn. The towpath was formerly used by horses to tow barges along the old canal.

When you reach a kissing gate, pass through, then turn right back into the woodland of Barnett Demesne.

Woodland to End
Woodland to End

Start point: 54.5479 lat, -5.9642 long
End point: 54.5528 lat, -5.9589 long

At the next junction keep right and continue along the path. Take the next path that turns left uphill. Climb up the hill, past the edge of the open meadows on your right.

The woodland comprises mainly mature oak and beech. In spring it is worth visiting early in the day to listen to the dawn chorus of birds such as the chiff-chaff and blackcap. In autumn the golden colouring of the beech trees against their grey, smooth bark is spectacular.

At the top of the hill turn right which leads you past the yew walk. There are several yew trees on either side of this path, the remains of a formal yew hedge planted in the early years of the 20th century, which is now part of an extensive arboretum. Throughout this site you will find collections of trees that have attractive flowers, fruit, bark and stem colour at different times of the year. Further down the hill there are collections of birch, beech and maple trees.

After a short distance take the next path left, which leads you back to Malone House car park where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author NIWalks and may not be reproduced without permission.

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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