Opening Times: Open all year round (free access)
Contact Details:The Cornmill (028 8774 7419)
Getting There: Park your car at Cornmill car park in the centre of Coalisland. Exit the car park opposite Dorman’s chemist, turn left and walk 100 yards until you come to the dam lock. The walk begins at the Cornmill in Coalisland town centre. The towpath is a straight walk along the 4.5 mile stretch. However, it has three sections after about 1 mile walkers will have to cross the Gortgonis Road at Macks bridge to access the second section of the walk .A further half mile along this pathway will lead to the busy Moor road at McAliskeys lock, once again you must cross this road to connect to the last part of the walk, the final 3miles will lead to the Reenaderry Road where the canal path ends , this is known as The Point where the canal meets the Blackwater river.
The Coalisland Canal Walk is steeped in history, being an important industrial heritage site as well as boasting diverse flora and fauna and is an important industrial heritage site. The Canal was opened in 1789 to bring coal from Coalisland to Dublin via the River Blackwater, Lough Neagh and the Newry Canal. Coalisland acted as an inland port with lighters carrying grain for the mills and provisions for the surrounding towns. Begin the walk at the Cornmill in Coalisland Town Centre, and continue for up to 6.5km to Derrytresk where the canal joins the River Blackwater. Almost half of the towpath has a bitmac surface and follows the canal for about 2.5km, as it meets with the Torrent River. From that point, the towpath has the quiet water of the canal on one side and the rushing water of the river on the other. In spring the canal is filled with yellow iris, banded damselfly are also present and moorhen breed here. Dipper, kingfisher and grey wagtail breed along the river and otters secretly hunt the waters of the canal and the river for pike and brown trout. Reed bunting, snipe and curlew are present in adjacent farmland and cuckoo can be heard calling from nearby meadows.
Rivers and streams can be considered the arteries of life to the LNW. More so than ever they are proving to be a vital habitat that encompasses a rich mosaic of habitats within a catchment area. Six major rivers flow into Lough Neagh (Moyola, Ballinderry, Blackwater, Upper Bann, Six Mile Water & River Main, and one river drains the Lough into the sea; the Lower Bann. The total area of land that is drained into the Lough via these rivers and streams is about 4,453 square km. All the major rivers, and many of the smaller tributaries within the Lough Neagh Wet-lands, contain populations of Atlantic salmon, river brown trout and dolla-ghan trout. These rivers are designated as Salmonid Rivers in accordance with the EU Fish Directive and support valuable recreational and commercial fisheries for these species. Many Invasive Alien Species (IAS) are translocated through the driving force of water to the main body of the Lough itself.
All the major rivers, and many of the smaller tributaries within the Lough Neagh Wetlands, contain populations of Atlantic salmon, river brown trout and dollaghan trout. Atlantic salmon migrate from the Atlantic Ocean, up the Lower River Bann and into Lough Neagh. River brown trout are found in the tributary streams and rivers of Lough Neagh, and are a migratory fish following a similar life cycle, habitat requirements and migration pattern as salmon, but most individuals remain in freshwater all their lives. Lough Neagh catchment supports a distinctive variety of brown trout known as “dollaghan”. Like salmon, adult dollaghan migrate from the Lough into the feeder rivers during late summer and autumn.
- Visitor Centre: The centrepiece of Coalisland town is the restored Cornmill that tells the story of the area’s rich industrial history, through photographic images, paintings, reconstructions, showcases and a soundtrack of recorded memories.
- Amenities in Coalisland: Refreshments are available in a number of cafes and restaurants in Coalisland. Public toilets are also available in the town centre and have disability access.