Day out: Lagan Valley Regional Park, Belfast

Seek the lilting song of the yellowhammer and the skylark’s sweet call beside the winding
River Lagan on the edge of Northern Ireland’s capital city

Tree and path in forest
Published: January 24th, 2022 at 6:14 am
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A unique corridor of greenery that has provided a haven for wildlife for 55 years, the Lagan Valley Regional Park stretches along the banks of the River Lagan for 11 miles. 


Linking the urban centres of Belfast and Lisburn, this patchwork of waterway, nature reserve, countryside and parkland is a living example of how nature can thrive a stone’s throw from a capital city. 

Yellow bird and bush
The yellowhammer’s call sounds like the phrase ‘a little bit of bread and no cheese’, ending with a jaunty upward lilt/Credit: Getty

Wildlife and walks in Lagan Valley

In spring, listen for the songs of linnets, yellowhammers and skylarks and keep your eyes peeled for kingfishers and reed buntings. Swifts arrive in May – encouraged by recent nest boxes – and patrol the river in an endless acrobatic quest for insects. 


The Lagan Towpath traverses the entire park, and you can walk or cycle the nine-mile stretch from Belfast’s Stranmillis Embankment to Lisburn. For a shorter outing, head to Belvoir Park Forest, home to both Northern Ireland’s RSPB headquarters and three signed loop walks, each up to two miles long. 


Helen Fairbairn
Helen FairbairnOutdoor guidebook author

Helen Fairbairn has worked as a professional outdoor writer for the past 20 years.


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