Walkers on the Comber and Connswater Greenways

Walkers on the Comber and Connswater Greenways

It’s unlikely that the planners of the Belfast and County Down Railway could have ever foreseen that the disused section between Comber and Belfast would be transformed into a Greenway. But that’s what has transpired and by late last century it had become a recreation path for walkers, cyclists and runners. It was officially opened on 8 November 2008.

The BCDR was an Irish gauge railway built in the 19th Century, linking Belfast with County Down, It reached as far as Donaghadee, Comber, Newcastle, Ballynahinch and Ardglass. The section we walked was from Dundonald to the ‘Arches’ in East Belfast and on via the C S Lewis Square and the Connswater Greenway to Sydenham.

Our group of 16 travelled by train to Belfast, Glider to Dundonald and walked back to the train station at Sydenham. So from the Rosepark Glider stop near Dundonald, we made our way through the Ardcarn estate to the Greenway and crossed the Kings Road, Abbey Road, Knock, Sandown Road, Bloomfield, Holywood Arches (which used to carry the railway line), CS Lewis Square and then to Sydenham.

The Comber Greenway is a wonderful tranquil traffic–free path along the old line. The trail is also a haven for wildlife, with areas of nature conservation such as the River Enler. There are great views of Stormont, Scrabo Tower, the Harland & Wolff cranes and the Belfast Hills.

It was strange to be walking along and then come across a familiar road, for example, Knock Road, where there was at one time a level crossing at Ballyclougan Nursery. The station there was built in 1869. The original name of the Sandown Road crossing was Cadger’s Loaney (from the Scots Gaelic for peddlar). This was where Mr Sinclair Boyd made the bricks for his housing development from the sandpits around the line. The pits can still be seen today. On the Beersbridge Road the station was Bloomfield and the next halt was Neills Hill. Here we sat on the old platform but the station which had been opened in 1890 was long since gone.

C S Lewis Square provided an interesting lunch stop. It is located at the intersection of the Connswater and Comber Greenways and features statues depicting the story of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

We had refreshments in the Coffee Bar in the East Side Visitor Centre where there’s lots of information on the city’s attractions from interactive screens, interpretative panels and a wall map, connecting people to EastSide’s famous faces, places and industries.

On then via the Connswater Greenway beside the river to Sydenham and the train home.

Thanks to Peter Gibson for organising such an interesting day out. Our next walk is in Castlewellan Forest Park on 1st February.

Added by: RobbieJackson
Added on: Tuesday 7th January 2020

Category: Walkers

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