Three suggested walk combinations using public rights of way and public roads near the hamlet of Ballyroney and centred on Lackan Bog. Located on the banks of the Upper River Bann in the parish of Drumballyroney, townland of Lackan, between Dromara and Rathfriland in southwest County Down is the small hamlet of Ballyroney. The area has interesting literary links including Patrick Brontë, father of Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne, who was born in the nearby townland of Imdel in 1777 and Captain Mayne Reid – ‘Soldier and Novelist’ - a successful 19th century writer of adventure stories, born in Ballyroney in 1818.
Here the Upper River Bann wends it way around farmed drumlin hills set in a lowland basin of extensive birch, moss and on its journey from the Mourne Mountains to Lough Neagh. The Mournes form a beautiful back drop to the area. Nearby Ballyroney Lake supports a variety of wintering waterfowl including mute swan, whooper swan, mallard, teal, tufted duck and coot. Also in the townland of Lackan is Lackan Bog. The special and fragile nature of this habitat is reflected in its designation as an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI). Formerly a raised bog, but now completely cut over, Lackan Bog represents one of the largest single blocks of lowland peat left in County Down. It is one of the most important sites in Ireland for dragonflies. 13 out of 22 Irish species have been spotted in the bog. The best time to see them is between March and October.
The suggested walks include ‘The Green Road’ an old bog rampart and public right of way by foot that runs for a mile across the bog from Lackan Road towards Dodd’s Hill/Dicksons Hill Road and the High Road, a quiet minor road, skirting the bog to the west and giving good views over it – the two can be linked by road to form a circular walk. Simply walking along ‘The Green Road’ from Lackan Road to Dicksons Hill Road and returning along the same route gives an interesting insight in this beautiful bogland habitat and a walk of a couple of miles.
A mix of on-road walking, public rights of way using farm lane and bog ramparts (lanes) with very uneven and, at times, muddy surfaces. Bog ramparts are prone to burrowing by rabbits, etc so watch your step. Walk (3) takes in open fields near Annahinchigo lake in which cattle may be grazing. Mix of flat and undulating terrain.
When crossing Lackan Bog please remain on ‘The Green Road’ footpath. No cycling. Dogs should be under control at all times and should be on a lead when passing through open fields with livestock. Take your litter home, clean up after your dog, park with care, do not damage crops, walls or fences. Do not be careless with lighted matches or cigarettes. Please report any problems encountered with this route to the Countryside Officer (028 4066 0605). The OSNI Discover Series 1:50 000 map ed.2001 and – incorrectly labels the public right of way running around Annahinchigo Lake/Hunshigo Lake as ‘The Green Road’. ‘The Green Road’ F.P. actually runs from the Lackan Road to Dicksons Hill Road/Dodds Hill.
|Start and Finish:
Park on road with due car and consideration at junction of Lackan Road and Flush Road, Ballyroney.
(Grid. ref. J244367).
OSNI Discoverer Series 1:50 000 Sheet 29
Slieve Croob Outdoor Pursuits map.
Route Fact File
Rathfriland is the nearest town to Ballyroney approx. 1.5 mile south along the B7.
Ballyroney is located on the B7 Dromara to Rathfriland Road. From Banbridge stay on the A50 in the direction of Castlewellan – pass the turn-off for Katesbridge but take the next road on the right, the Ballyroney Road, and follow to its junction with the B7 turning right into this road. Take the next road on the left signed for Castlewellan, the Lackan Road. Continue for approximately 1.5 miles to just before a crossroad with the Flush and Crabtree Roads. The suggested parking place is the verge off the Lackan Road near its junction with the Flush Road.
Brontë Interpretive Centre
Located a short distance from Ballyroney, signposted just off the B7 on Church Hill Road, is the former Drumballyroney Church and School housing the Brontë Interpretative Centre. Explore the local links to this famous literary family in a tranquil setting. The centre is open from Friday until Sunday each week, including Bank Holidays, between 12 noon and 4.30pm from 17 March until late September. It is also open by appointment at other times. Tel. 028 4062 3322. Admission: Adult £3.00 & Child/Concession £2.00.
Walk 1: Flush Road to Eelwire Road and ‘The Green Road’ public footpath (approx. 4.5 miles)
From the junction of Lackan Road and Flush Road turn L into Flush Road which is a quiet, undulating road bordering Lackan Bog. Continue along Flush Road for approximately 1.5 mile, pass the entrance to Eelwire Road and look out for a Footpath SP on the L pointing to lane leading to a house near the junction with the A50 (Ballyward Road). Turn into this lane (This public right of way is in agricultural use and used by horses and can be muddy) which runs to the side of the house – over ‘Parsons Hill’ and follow it to its junction with Eelwire Road.
Turn R into Eelwire Road and continue to junction with B7 (Dromara Road). Walk facing oncoming traffic and with vigilance along this busy road for about 0.5 mile – look out for Dickson’s Hill Road on the L marked by a ‘No Through Road’ sign. Continue along Dicksons Hill Road and look for a Footpath SP pointing across an open field on the other side of the road from a large farm shed. Go through the ‘Rambler Stile’ which opens in a ‘v’ shape and cross the field to another ‘Rambler Stile’. You will be entering ‘The Green Road’ a public footpath along an old bog rampart which crosses the bog.
Bog ramparts evolved from early bog roads and provided easy access to the peat/turf for cutting. As a result the road is at a higher level than the cut out peat on either side. The rampart is fragile and prone to animal burrowing – please watch your step. At one point on the walk you will cross over the stone railway bridge which carried the route over the former Banbridge to Ballyroney railway line. Keep on the track to meet Lackan Road and turn L to return to the starting point.
Walk 2: Lackan Bog and the High Road (3.75 miles)
Public right of way over Lackan Bog, public road and minor road skirting Lackan Bog
Take the public footpath signed ‘The Green Road’ from Lackan Road (near junction with Flush Road). On emerging at Dickson’s Hill Road turn left and when this road meets the B7 (Dromara Road) turn left again. Exercise extreme care and walk facing on-coming traffic as you walk along this busy road for approximately 0.5 miles. Take next turn-off on L into the High Road, a narrow country road beside a house. Follow this very quiet road, which gives great views over the bog, and crosses the old Banbridge to Ballyroney railway line, until you meet the Lackan Road. Turn L into the Lackan Road to return to the starting point.
Walk 3: Flush Road to Annahinchigo Lake and Lackan Bog (5.6 miles)
Combines public rights of way with on-road walking.
At starting point – turn R into Crabtree Road and walk up the hill. Take the first lane on the L (marked by a footpath sign) down a farm lane. Where the lane meets a junction follow the waymarks away from the house and down over stiles and gates towards the lakeshore. At the lakeshore look for gates and a path in front of a lakeside cottage to the R and proceed to other side. Cattle are often grazing along the lake shore and sometimes one of the landowners keeps cattle in an enclosure along the route just on the other side of the last stile at the cottages. Continue along the open field, close to the lakeshore and look for a ‘Rambler Stile’ in the fence line on the R – this opens in a ‘V’ shape – step through in the field. If you walk as far as the farm yard near the lake you have passed this stile so retrace your steps.
Keep close to the right field boundary along the side the side of a field and through a gap into a second field (cattle are often grazing in these fields. Be particularly careful if there are cows with calves and ensure that if you have a dog with you that it is kept on the lead). Look for a wooden gate along the right field boundary of the 2nd field - leading into a bog rampart or raised green lane on boggy ground. Walk along the rampart looking out for potholes caused by burrowing animals in the peaty soil. Where the rampart meets the farm lane veer away from the old house and keep on this surfaced lane and follow the waymarks until it meets the Crabtree Road. Turn L. into Crabtree Road and continue to its junction with Bannside Road turn R into Bannside Road and follow it up the hill.
The River Bann runs close to the road as it nears Ballyroney. At the Bannside Road junction with the B7 turn R towards Ballyroney and continue on through the settlement on this road. Exercise care walking along this busy road and use the roadside footpath where available. Pass Ballyroney Lake and take 2nd road on R marked by a ‘No through Road’ sign – Dicksons Hill Road and continue along looking for a Footpath SP leading across an open field on the right. Cross the field into Lackan Bog and follow ‘The Green Road’ a public footpath across the bog to its junction with Lackan Road. Here turn L into Lackan Road to return to the starting point.