Connswater Community Greenway
The Connswater Community Greenway is a 9k linear park, following the course of the Connswater, Knock and Loop Rivers in the east of the city.
The project is part of our physical investment programme. This £40 million project was funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Belfast City Council, Department for Communities and Department for Infrastructure. It was delivered by us, in partnership with EastSide Partnership.
The greenway provides a range of benefits to local residents including:
- new leisure and recreation areas with more health and wellbeing options
- physical improvements, including:
- 16km of new walking and cycling routes
- 26 new or improved bridges
- 5km of restored water courses
- seven tourism and heritage trails
- Narnia themed public art pieces and
- a new C.S. Lewis civic square located at Holywood Arches.
The development of the Connswater Community Greenway also provided an opportunity to deliver elements of the East Belfast Flood Alleviation Scheme.
£8 million was secured by the Department for Infrastructure to reduce flooding to 1,700 properties in east Belfast, near the courses of the Knock, Loop and Connswater Rivers. Parts of the scheme focused on Victoria Park and Orangefield Park where the Knock River was aligned from the edge to the heart of the park to protect against flooding and make the river a feature.
Places of note
C.S. Lewis Square
Located at the intersection of the Connswater and Comber Greenways at Holywood Arches, C.S. Lewis Square provides an area for events and activities. With capacity for almost 2,000 people, this public space is open 24/7 and is fully lit.
The square marks the life and work of one of the city’s most celebrated writers, C.S. Lewis, and has a series of seven magical Narnia themed art sculptures created by Irish artist Maurice Harron.
Free trail maps exploring the sculptures located throughout the square are available to pick up in EastSide Visitor Centre, The Arches Health & Wellbeing Centre, Connswater Community Centre and Holywood Arches Library.
A Belfast Bikes docking station has also been located in the square, linking the east of the city to the other 39 stations, and improving connectivity along both the Connswater and Comber Greenways.
A total of 12 new bridges have been constructed along the Greenway. These include:
- Sam Thompson Bridge is named after a local east Belfast shipyard worker and playwright. The bridge provides a fitting link between the Greenway and the city’s maritime heritage, linking Victoria Park to the Harbour Estate and on to Titanic Quarter.
- Grace Bannister Bridge (the first bridge from Dixon Park near Grand Parade) – named after the first female Lord Mayor of Belfast.
- Shannon Bridge (the second bridge from Dixon Park at Dunraven Gardens) - named after a local community worker Billy Shannon who was a founding member of Bloomfield community association.
- Hutchinson Bridge (the new bridge linking Linen Garden and Abetta Parade) - named after David Hutchinson, the former principal of Elmgrove School
- The James Ellis Bridge, named after the late east Belfast actor, best known for his roles in Z Cars and the Billy Plays. The bridge links the King George Playing Fields with the east Sydenham bank.
This is the location where the Knock and Loop Rivers meet, forming the Connswater River. The area has been immortalised in several of Van Morrison’s classic songs. Van sings about ‘going down to the hollow’ in Brown Eyed Girl. Also, look out for the tall electricity pylons located here which Van refers to in both You Know What They're Talking About and On Hyndford Street.
The unusual name for this pathway which connects Orangefield Park to Braniel, was voted for by the public. It refers to the fictional frog-like creatures that inhabit the marshes of northern Narnia in CS Lewis’s The Silver Chair. The path stretches through wetland habitat and a new pond dipping area gives young explorers the opportunity to get up close to our local pond life.
This wooded glen which leads up to Lisnabreeny Rath in the Castlereagh Hills offers superb views of Belfast. Also known as ‘Bluebell Glen’ due to the carpet of the familiar wildflower, the glen features a mature mixed woodland of sycamore, beech, Scots pine and ash. There is also a waterfall along the river to explore.
Read more about the Connswater Community Greenway scheme at www.connswatergreenway.co.uk or call the EastSide Partnership on 028 9046 7925.
You can keep up to date with the latest news by searching for Connswater Community Greenway on Facebook or following @ConnsGreenway on Twitter.
If you'd like to explore the greenway, a series of heritage and tourism trails have been developed to encourage people to visit the site and learn more about the surrounding east Belfast area. You can read more about the trails at