|Newry Canal Towpath, Britain's first summit-level canal, navigates its way through a natural trough in a part of the countryside, which abounds in interesting places and stories guaranteed to fascinate any traveller. Whether it be the important archaeological sites around Scarva, the extensive Linen history of Gilford and Tandragee, the famous and infamous characters who passed this way, the Monastic and commercial importance of Newry or, simply, the superb engineering displayed by the Canal itself, there will be something to amaze and enthral every visitor to the area.
With its original lock gates still intact, Terryhoogan is the thirteenth lock on the Canal. Facing Terryhoogan House where John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, is reputed to have stayed in the mid-Eighteenth Century.
Canal Summit Level
This is the point where the lower end of the Canal meets the higher level and the water is raised to level the difference. This feature can be seen at Poyntzpass where the Canal rises to 78 feet above sea level. Newry was the first in the British Isles to construct a summit level. In all, the Canal has 14 locks, 9 of them south of the summit level.
Scarva, Poyntzpass and Jerrettspass
These three small villages grew up around the Newry Canal. Scarva is famous for its "Sham Fight", a re-enactment of the Battle of the Boyne carried out each 13th July to celebrate King William III's victory there in 1690. It takes place beside the very Spanish Chestnut tree in Scarva Demesne that King William is believed to have camped under on his way to the Boyne all those years ago.
The existence of Scarva Town is due to the construction of this bridge. The bridge which stands today was built in 1744, however, it incorporates many parts of the bridge built previously to this date.
Scarva Visitor Centre
Located at the dock on the Canal where vast quantities of coal were unloaded for use in the local Linen industry. The centre helps to explain the building of the Canal, its trade and Scarva's role within this. Linked to this development, the Towpath has been restored from Poyntzpass to the quaintly named Tally-Ho Bridge at Terryhoogan Locks, passing, on the way, Acton Lake.
Newry Canal Restoration Project
The Newry Canal Restoration Project is a major long-term programme involving Newry and Mourne and Banbridge District Councils, Craigavon Borough Council and Armagh City & District Council, all of which are committed to bringing the full Canal back to life without disturbing what is natural and historic along its route. The project is sympathetic to its environment, as will be the activities which occur on the Canal itself.
Newry Canal Towpath holds tremendous potential for such recreational pursuits as:
- Wildlife Observation Sites
- Angling/Course Fishing
- Boat Cruises with access to Lough Neagh
- Guided Tours
- Additional Interpretive Centres
- Pony Trekking
- Cycling/Walking Trails