Lough Foyle Trail

Lough Foyle is a sheltered haven on the Atlantic coast, a refuge for sailors, wintering birds, breeding seals and walkers. This is a flat, off-road walk, that for most of its length follows alongside a freshwater pond with dotted with reed beds. The expanse of Lough Foyle can be viewed on the other side of the sea wall for the length of the walk.

Technical sheet No. 30941543

A Limavady walk posted on 20/02/23 by Walk NI. Last update : 15/03/23
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h50[?]
Distance Distance : 10.43 mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 13 ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 13 ft
Highest point Highest point : 7 ft
Lowest point Lowest point : -7 ft
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Limavady
Starting point Starting point : N 55.055621° / W 7.040938°
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Start : Ballykelly car park (BT49 9HU)

(D/A) From Ballykelly car park, walk across the bridge and follow the gravel track to the left (North-West), following the river a short distance until you come to where it meets Lough Foyle. Depending on tide levels, you will see various waders and wildfowl (including Brent Geese in winter) feeding on the mudflats at the river mouth.

(1) Here, the track turns sharp right and runs between the ‘back pond’ or ‘back cuts’ that drains the reclaimed land (much of it lying at or below sea level) and the grassy bank that abuts the sea wall.

Part of a concrete runway can be seen across the fields. This was the once strategically important RAF Ballykelly. Modern commercial aeroplanes cross these skies today, bound for the City of Derry airport to the west.

The track continues for two miles (North-East) until it comes to the Burnfoot River which rises on Loughermore Mountain to the south. A new footbridge was installed across the Burnfoot River in July 2015, which allows the walker to cross the river and continue walking along the shores of Lough Foyle.

(2) Turn left after crossing the bridge and follow the path to where the river meets Lough Foyle. Just offshore at this point lies the wreck of a World War Two aircraft, that can be seen at low water.

(3) Continue North-West walking along Ballymacran Bank, where the walker can savour a backdrop of Binevenagh Mountain to the northeast and the famed hills of Donegal punctuating the Inishowen skyline to the west. Between which lies Lough Foyle, Northern Ireland’s biggest expanse of estuary, enlivened by the evocative primeval calls of waders and wildfowl.

The route continues to run Northwards to meet the River Roe with its remnant of estuarine salt marsh. The route continues for 800m from where it starts to curve Eastwards at the Roe Estuary, and ends where the path meets the railway line between Derry/ Londonderry and Coleraine after more or less 4.4 Km.

(4) The walk is linear, so return the way you came – don’t worry as the views are spectacular in both directions! (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 7 ft - Ballykelly
1 : mi 0.22 - alt. 0 ft - Sharp right turn (back pond)
2 : mi 2.28 - alt. -3 ft - Footbridge - Burnfoot River
3 : mi 2.49 - alt. 0 ft - Lough Foyle - Ballymacran Bank
4 : mi 5.21 - alt. 0 ft - Railway
D/A : mi 10.43 - alt. 7 ft - Ballykelly

Useful Information

Start : Ballykelly car park (BT49 9HU)

Parking : Car parks at Ballykelly, Ballymacran and Myroe Levels

Driving to start : On the Londonderry/ Derry side of Ballykelly. Turn on to Station Rd, a minor road that runs northwest off the A2. After about 1 Km, cross the rail track by the level crossing and park adjacent to the bridge over Ballykelly River.
By foot:
On the Londonderry/ Derry side of Ballykelly.
Leave Ballykelly village, walking towards Londonderry/Derry. Just before the edge of the village, turn on to Station Rd – a minor road that runs northwest off the A2. After about 1km, cross rail track by the level crossing and cross the bridge over Ballykelly River.

Terrain : Rough track and sea wall

Public Transport : Translink

Facilities : Information panels, bird hides

Dog Policy : Dogs must be kept under control at all times

Find more information and walk ideas at Walk NI here.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Spectacular views can be enjoyed from the sea wall but take care if climbing the grassy bank or walking along the top of the wall at any point along the route.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.