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New Footbridge Opens Up New Walking Route at Lough Foyle


A new footbridge has been installed across the Burnfoot River near to the village of Ballykelly, adjacent to Lough Foyle. The bridge links two existing Quality Walks Ballykelly Bank and Ballymacran Bank to create a new 5.2 mile (one way) linear, off road trail for walkers and cyclists – the Lough Foyle Trail.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council are delighted to announce the bridge, which was installed as part of the winder Inch and Foyle project, is now open for public use.  The Inch and Foyle Project, funded by the European Union through the INTERREG IVA Programme, was set up to deliver two world-class visitor and outdoor recreation attractions at Inch Wildfowl Reserve, Inch Levels, Co. Donegal and at the east coast of Lough Foyle near Limavady.

Designated as a Ramsar site, Lough Foyle is an internationally important wetland habitat because of the intertidal mudflats that attract waders and migratory wildfowl including Whooper Swans, Pale- bellied Brent Geese, Widgeon and Bar-tailed Godwit making this walk a bird watchers paradise.

Walkers can choose to walk the linear route from either Ballykelly Bank or Ballymacran Bank, from both of which shorter sections of the route can be enjoyed. The route can also be accessed from the car park at Myroe. The 5.2 mile path (one way) is 2.6 miles between Ballykelly and Ballymacran car parks, 1.2 miles between Ballymacran and Myroe carparks, and 1.4 miles from Myroe car park at the end of the path where it meets the railway track providing plenty of route options for walkers.

With the intertidal area around Ballykelly bank providing a great feeding ground for waders such as Curlew and Redshank as well as noisy Pale-bellied Brent Goose there will be plenty of birdspotting to be done.  Walkers should also keep an eye out for Dippers feeding in the river or Reed Buntings foraging along the tall grasses. The former Ballykelly airfield which played a key supporting role during the Second World War can also be spotted along the route.

One of the widest parts of Lough Foyle, Ballymacran is a very important agricultural area. Winter sees flocks of wintering wildfowl feeding in the fields, Lapwing with their distinctive pee-wit call and silhouette in flight can be seen all year with numbers boosted in the winter months. The drainage channels behind the sea wall also present opportunity to see a range of waders including Redshank, Godwits and Dunlin. The intertidal area where the Burnfoot River flows into the lough is also a great place to view the birds.  At low tide the wreckage of a Vought Corsair aircraft which crashed in the later years of the Second World War can be seen.

If you would like to try out the new walk download the route description and map from WalkNI.

To find out more about the Inch and Foyle Wildlife Project visit www.inchandfoyle.com