The Newry Canal Way is a 20 mile long distance route running from Portadown to Newry along the restored towpath of the former Newry Canal. This linear walk/cycle, provides a flat, level surface suitable for walkers and cyclists of all abilities. The Towpath has now been upgraded and is part of Route 9 National Cycle Network. It one of the Way Marked Ways, an initiative which way marks and provides information on high quality long distance walks in Northern Ireland. The Newry Canal, completed in 1742, was Britain’s first summit-level canal. The canal runs for 18 miles/28.96 km from the Point of Whitecoat on the Upper Bann 0.93 mile /1.5 km south of Portadown to Victoria Locks at the sea 3.41 miles/5.5 km south of Newry. It was originally built to transport coal from a coal deposit in Tyrone via the Tyrone Navigation and Lough Neagh to the Upper River Bann to Point of Whitecoat and then along the canal to the important port of Newry to Dublin.
The canal runs through the Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon and Newry and Mourne council areas on its journey from Lough Neagh to the sea at Carlingford Lough. The inland canal ceased to operate over 60 years ago. In recent times the four councils have taken on ownership and management of the towpath and manage it jointly through the Newry Portadown Canal Committee. They have undertaken a major restoration programme on the towpath and created a popular recreational facility once again ensuring that the Newry Canal benefits the local communities along its length.
Route Fact File
||From Knock Bridge to Scarva approx. 4.5 mile/7.24 km
From Scarva Visitor Centre to Lough Shark/Acton Lake – approx. 1.5 mile/2.41 km
From Scarva Visitor Centre to Poynzpass – approx.3 mile/4.82km
||The canal enters the Banbridge area at Knock Bridge to the north and leaves it at Poyntzpass to the south but throughout its length the border between Armagh and Down criss-crosses the canal.
|Start and Finish:
||Either at Knock Bridge or at Scarva Visitor Centre
||Car parking is available at Scarva Visitor Centre. There is no formal car park provision at Knock Bridge but limited parking in an informal lay-by on bridge off busy B2 road, and at bridge over River Bann before you come to the canal.
||J065439 – Scarva Visitors Centre
J039508 – Knock Bridge
Ordnance Survey of NI Discoverer Series Craigavon 1:50 000 Sheet 20
||Level, surfaced path
||Contact Banbridge Tourist Information Centre
T: 028 4062 3322
||Scarva Visitor Centre Tearooms is open during the summer season from Easter to the end of September (closed Mondays). Local shops and pubs in Scarva and Poyntzpass.
Scarva is located about 5 miles/8.04 km west of Banbridge. From Banbridge take the B10 and follow to Scarva village. Scarva Visitor Centre is located off the Main Street in the centre of the village. Knock Bridge is located north of Moyallon - take the A50 from Banbridge to Gilford, continue through Gilford towards Portadown at first cross roads from Gilford turn Left into the B2 signed for Tandragee. You will see National Cycle Network signs indicating that the Newry Canal is 0.5 mile/0.80 km along this road.
Points of Interest
Moneypenny’s Lock and Lock Keepers Cottage (Craigavon Borough Council facility) 0.5 mile/0.80 km to the north of Knock Bridge this is worth visiting if you are at Knock Bridge. Scarva village and Scarva Visitor Centre, Lough Shark or Acton Lake is a haven for wild fowl. The building beside the lake was built by Armagh City and District Council on the site of the former Sluice Keepers. Water from the Lough was used to top up the level of water in the canal. The canal rose to 78 ft/24 metres above sea level at Poyntzpass with the section between Poyntzpass to just north of Scarva being the summit level. 14 locks were built along the canal:11 of them from Poyntzpass south to help boats climb to the summit level from Newry, and 3 north of Scarva to assist the descent to Lough Neagh.