Lower Bann Navigation
Navigable from Lough Neagh to the sea at the Barmouth, the Lower Bann Navigation is a veritable paradise for recreational activity. With only five locks, rustic stretches of open water allow for leisurely cruising along its historic plains.
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Lower Bann Navigation is a popular area for watersports, angling and cruising. Careful zoning ensures that all activities are conducted with safety and enjoyment in mind. Along the lingering passages of the river, rowing and canoeing are available through a number of active clubs. For adrenaline seekers, waterskiing, power boating and jet skiing are practised in dedicated zones and, in several areas, lessons are offered to novices.
If tranquil beauty and majestic rock formations are more in line with your thinking, take a trip to sea to visit the attractions of the spectacular nearby Causeway Coast, including its picturesque villages and dotted islands. The Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located close to the Lower Bann Navigation. Seemingly carved by the hands of giants, the resultant topography is rich and steeped in drama and history. The accessible Mountsandel Fort outside Coleraine is the earliest known human settlement in Ireland at 7,000 years old.
As well as being sited near some impressive geological centrepieces, the Lower Bann Navigation traverses an area of scenic beauty and environmental interest. The river basin is teeming with migrant waterfowl, waders and nesting birds. The river itself provides a conduit for migrating eels and salmon as well as a habitat for coarse fish species. The sand dunes at Portstewart near where the river enters the sea are managed as a National Trust nature reserve.
Peaceful strolls through ancient woods, jaunts along glassy canal banks and forays into forests – the Lower Bann offers some great short walks that whisk you through centuries of history and right to the edge of Lough Neagh.