Floodgates Walk

(4 reviews)

Linear walking route across the northern strand of Strangford Lough. The route crosses the sea defenses that protect reclaimed lands to the south of Newtownards.This is an Ulster Scots walk. Part of the ‘Danders Aroon’ series, the Ards Ulster Scots Walk (also known as Floodgates Walk) is a beautiful coastal walk with rich heritage that you can learn about as you take a stroll.This walk at the top of Strangford Lough leads along the sea wall that protects land, first claimed by Lord Londonderry, and now part of Newtownards town and a small private airport. There are great views out over the water and also of Scrabo Tower, which looms above the town. Time your visit with high tide if possible.Check out the ‘Danders Aroon’ videos in the Route description below to find out more about the Ulster Scots history of the area and this walk. 

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Floodgates Walk

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  • We walked this route on a very nice Spring morning and agree with the comments made in the previous reviews.
    The path is made of gravel and is fine for most people including those with prams. However I don’t believe that it is suitable for those with limited mobility.
    The birdlife is spectacular and includes Little Egrets and Shelducks.
    I agree that some seats near the halfway mark would be beneficial and would allow walkers to have a break and take in the scenery.

    Phil at 9:40 pm
  • Summer seat halfway would be lovely a great way to get cobwebs out of your system enjoyed the walk.

    Ella Milliken at 3:36 pm
  • Despite this route not being connected to Island Hill or/and Comber Greenway and the surface not being suitable for cycling or wheelchair users this walk is surely one of the best in Ireland.

    You walk the entire route on an elevated man made floodgate/bank and this gives you panoramic views across Strangford Lough on one side and Scrabo/Airport on the other. The views are breathtaking

    It is also bird watching heaven.

    Such a pity you cannot easily cycle this route or bring a wheelchair. It is also a great shame this walk isn’t connected properly to Newtownards Town, Island Hill, Comber Greenway or Scrabo Country Park – and IT COULD easily be done!

    North Down and Ards Council have started many initiatives over the years to do this but all seem to have failed so far.

    The Car Park here is tiny and always busy so be prepared to park on the road or in other closely roads.

    Surely the Stormant Assembly should take over these tourist gems and manage them properly!

    Mark Speirs at 10:59 am
  • County Down

    Distance 2.1 miles

    OS Map Sheet 21

    Terrain Gravel path

    Nearest Town Newtownards

    Route Shape Linear

    Grid Reference J501730

    Route Type Coastal

    Route Description

    Starting at the car park head west across the footbridge over the floodgates and onto the embankment. The story of the original plan for the embankment is that a Dutch engineer was employed to build it. It was hoped that this would then encourage a Dutch settlement at Newtownards during the reign of William and Mary. The present embankment was built in 1811 by Lord Londonderry of Mount Stewart and reclaimed 200 acres of land from the sea shore. This area was turned into arable farmland. This is the most northerly point of Strangford Lough, at the foot of Scrabo Hill. The flat land was later developed into an airfield. The sea defences were upgraded in 2000 to protect the town of Newtownards. Care was taken to minimise adverse effects on the environment and monitoring is ongoing. There is a story that when the airfield was being constructed local farmers brought carts of stones to provide the hardcore for the runways. There were two entrances to the airfield; one on the Portaferry Road, the other on the Comber Road. Some of the more ingenious would bring their carts to the Portaferry Road get a ticket for their loads and leave by the other gate with the load covered and go around the block for a second ticket which meant they got double the money! Ards has lots of Ulster-Scots heritage, illustrated in these videos from Graham Little’s ‘Danders Aroon’ series. • https://vimeo.com/657553417/0257d272e7 • https://vimeo.com/692186401

    Point of Interest

    Scrabo Hill, Ards Allotments

    Getting to the start

    From Newtownards follow the Portaferry Road. Immediately after the junction with the Old Shore Road the car park is on the right.

    Public transport

    Translink – journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

    Dog Policy

    Dogs must be kept under close control


    Car parking