Cregagh Glen, Lisnabreeny Rath and Belvoir Park Forest

Cregagh Glen, Lisnabreeny Rath and Belvoir Park Forest


Ten walkers set off on a dull March morning to the Cregagh Road in Belfast. We parked in a lay–by at the top of the road that had originally been the turning point for trolleybuses.

We carefully negotiated crossing the Knock dual carriageway (surprisingly, there are no pedestrian lights at this busy junction) and entered Cregagh Glen. The Glen is owned by the National Trust who have installed bridges, steps and boardwalks to facilitate the steep climb up this part of the Castlereagh hills. It was full of ferns which thrive in the moist, shaded conditions. The arrival of spring was heralded by bluebells showing their green shoots and the lesser celandine showing their yellow flowers.

At the top of the glen, an old tunnel takes the river and the path under the Manse Road to Lagan College, which since the 1980s has incorporated Lisnabreeny House. Originally the house was the home of the Robb family, who had a department store in the centre of Belfast. Later it was a youth hostel and, during World War 2, the HQ of the US army in Northern Ireland.

Past the school, we climbed Lisnabreeny Hill and spent some time at Lisnabreeny Rath – the site of a fortified homestead which was occupied some time between 500 and 1000 CE.

As we retraced our steps downhill, we enjoyed panoramic vistas of the city. We then visited the memorial to the US graveyard that, during the war, had been the burying place of 148 US servicemen who died in Northern Ireland, before their bodies were returned home.

On then down Rocky Road – again more great views – and negotiated the very steep part of the road before returning to the dual carriageway.

The cafe at the Museum of Orange Heritage, beside where we had parked, provided a welcome venue for a coffee and tea break after our fairly strenuous four mile walk during which we had climbed, and then descended, some 630 feet.

At the cafe, Maurice introduced us to a website which displays radar maps of rain with a 10–minute delay. Thankfully, the forecast rain that day was shown to be well to the west.

We then travelled to Belvoir Park Forest where, after lunch, we followed the Lagan Trail (about two miles). By the time we returned to Bangor, the rain had not yet reached Lisburn!

Added by: RobbieJackson
Added on: Monday 16th March 2020

Category: Walkers

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