Lower Bann - Recreation
The 60 km long Lower Bann River drains Lough Neagh to the north coast of Northern Ireland at Portstewart. The river is navigable, and unlike the Lough, has a dedicated navigation authority in Waterways Ireland. The river system has five fully operational locks at Toome, Portna, Movanagher, Carnroe and the Cutts. Waterways Ireland staff manually operate the lock gates. The river is tidal from The Cutts at Coleraine to the sea at Portstewart, a distance of 9 km.
A long distance canoe trail had been developed for the Lower Bann River. Further details on this trail are available from the Countryside Access and Activities and Network on www.countrysiderecreation.com and from www.canoeni.com.
Mooring and launching facilities for boats are available along the length of the river and a leaflet, ‘Lower River Bann Navigation Notes and Users’ Code’, is available on request. Mooring facilities on the Lower Bann, managed by local Councils, can be found at Portglenone, Drumaheglis and Coleraine. Seaton’s Marina is a private facility about 3 km from the mouth of the Bann on the east bank of the river. Launching facilities for boats are also available at Toome and Newferry. There are three water skiing zones on the river accessible from Newferry, Drumaheglis and Coleraine marina. Jet skiing is permitted within a designated zone from Portstewart beach. The Admiralty Chart covering the Bann Estuary is number 2499.
Further details on navigation and associated services can be found in the Lough Neagh and Lower Bann Pilot Book, due for publication in 2002 and by visiting: www.riverbannloughneagh.org.uk
For information regarding angling on the Lower Bann please go to the the Bann System Ltd website.
The earthen fort in Mountsandel Wood, is the oldest known settlement in Ireland. Built during Norman times, the fort is close to the site of the first hunter-gatherer settlement, dating from about 7000BC. Flint tools were found here, indicating that Stone Age hunters camped here to fish salmon in the natural weir. There are good views over Somerset Wood and of the River Bann. The forest walk leads from the Fort down to the banks of the Bann and passes close to the weir at the Cutts. Swans, kingfishers and herons nest along the riverside. For more information go to www.mountsandel.com.