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Lower Bann

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Lower Bann - Environment

Managed as it is for drainage and navigation the Lower Bann is no longer a natural river. In its natural state before the drainage schemes the river channel had a riffle and pool system, which would have supported more diverse plant and animal communities than the more uniform channel does today.  The pristine river would also have had a wider water level range over-flooding its banks more than it now does.  Before the woodland clearances of the seventeenth century the river would have passed through natural woodland with areas of frequently flooded wet woodland, lowland wet grassland, marsh, reedswamp and bog.  With the notable exceptions of Lough Beg and the Bann estuary virtually all of these natural river corridor habitats have now gone.  The ‘Bann Woods’ along the length of the river date from the 1930s drainage scheme when material dredged from the river was deposited in areas then known as ‘The Bann Dumps’ and later planted with commercial timber.  These woods have a very high landscape value, especially because of the sympathetic planting of deciduous trees along the river edge.   The 26 blocks of woodland are managed by Forest Service and occupy 17 kilometres of river bank.

Although riverside woods are frequent and cover a substantial proportion of the rivers edge, an equally significant proportion of the river length is characterised by an open agricultural landscape managed as pasture.   Along the sides of the 60 metre wide open channel there is a generally thin and broken band of reedswamp and rooted macrophytes (underwater plants).   Cut-over raised bogs approach the river’s edge in the Lough Beg to Portglenone stretch.  The largest of these is Ballymacombs More being actively harvested by Bulrush Peat Company.




More information ....
Church Island, Lough Beg Lower Bann
© Lough Neagh and Lower Bann Advisory Committees 2006 | Images © Lough Neagh & Lower Bann Advisory Committees Photo Library