Broad Water

(5 reviews)

The Broad Water is a 3 mile (4.8km) towpath walk between Moira Railway Station and Aghalee and takes you along the route of the original Lagan Canal through Soldierstown. Keep an eye out for the large variety of breeding and wintering wildfowl.

Since the canal was officially abandoned in 1954 the banks have become overgrown and an array of colour is provided by a variety of trees, shrubs and wild flowers. Moira is unique as being the only town in Ireland to straddle two counties, County Down and County Armagh

The Broad Water is a man made feature, built in a natural valley in order to retain a sufficient head of water to accommodate the navigation. Take a seat and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, set against the background of a thin belt of mature woodland!

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Broad Water



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  • The thing about this walk is the wildlife. I have counted sixty swans on the Broadwater. There are mallards, tufted ducks, coots, moorhens. Great crested grebe and little grebe. A kingfisher on the old canal. A reed bunting in the long grass. In the field adjacent to the canal there are always starlings and in winter keeping them company are can be maybe twenty mistlethrushes. Because the towpath is on the northwest bank of the water the absence of trees means that for most of the time you are facing full sun, unlike a forest walk where you are constantly in shade, al least until the last half mile before Aghalee where there is heavy undergrowth. From Moira train station to the edge of Aghalee is three miles so a walk there and back is two hours 30 mins at a gentle pace. Through the week the station carpark tends to be very full and Soldierstwon carpark is a lot quieter, one mile along the canal. The blind exit from that carpark is not as difficult as has been made out because of the presence of the humpback bridge which slows oncoming traffic right down to a crawl.

    David McCarter at 2:10 am
  • It is a great walk which I have done many times and enjoyed the wildlife. I was there today, starting at Soldierstown, and noticed that much of the vegetation is being swamped by non native and very invasive Bindweed. I know these invasive plants are not easy to deal with but it does at least need to be reduced.

    David Nixon at 7:44 pm
  • County Down

    Distance 3 miles

    OS Map Sheet 20

    Terrain Flat towpath

    Nearest Town Moira Village

    Route Shape Linear

    Grid Reference J15713 61827

    Route Type Riverside

    Route Description

    Begin walking from the entrance located in the car park of Moira Railway Station. Passing under the bridge that carries the railway line which was built in 1833, stop to have a look at the unusual “skew brickwork” used to add strength to the bridge and how the strain of the tow rope cut notches in the iron guard at the foot of the bridge. Further along after passing the car park and picnic tables at Soldierstown Car Park you come to a large expanse of water, known as the Broad Water. Look out for the Soldierstown Church up on your left, where the engineer responsible for the Lisburn-Lough Neagh section of the canal, Richard Owen, was buried in 1830. On reaching the top end of the main Broad Water you will see the former bank-ranger’s house however this is now privately owned. The final part of the walk will take you into the Village of Aghalee.

    For those who wish to continue their journey towards Lisburn, then you can either take the train from Moira Railway Station or simply follow small country back roads, joining the towpath of the Lagan Valley Regional Park at Union Locks, Blaris Road, Lisburn.

    Point of Interest

    Soldierstown Church & Graveyard

    Getting to the start

    A pedestrian entrance to the Broad Water is available from the car of Moira Railway Station, Station Rd, Moira. A car park, picnic tables and link to the towpath are located at Soldierstown Car Park on the Soldierstown Road approximately midway between the villages of Moira and Aghalee. In addition the route can also be accessed in Aghalee Village from Soldierstown Road.

    Public transport

    Translink – journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

    Dog Policy

    Dogs are allowed. Dogs must be kept under close control

    Facilities

    Car parking available at Soldierstown. Refreshments available in Moira.

    The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility:

    – Disabled parking

    Accessibility Grade

    Grade 4

    • The path may not be hard and firm in all weathers with loose stones (not bigger than 10cm) with occasional tree roots and pot holes and will be at least 80cm wide for its entire length.
    • The path gradients and cross slopes will be greater than 6 degrees
    • Obstacles such as steps or stiles are to be expected and surface breaks may be larger 75mm in width.
    • There will be a clear head height of greater than 2.10m for the entire length of the route.
    • Passing places and rest areas may not be formalised or provided.