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Paddle sports on the River Lagan

The River Lagan flows through the centre of Belfast. It gives you the opportunity for water recreation in the heart of the city. The River is in two sections and divided by a weir in Stranmillis. The access points are listed in order from upstream to downstream, i.e. with the flow of the river. 

Stranmillis Weir to Lagan Weir 

The first section is between the Stranmillis Weir and Lagan Weir, the lower section. This is a largely flat body of water. It flows from Stranmillis and Annadale through Ormeau and Ravenhill to the city centre. There is no access to the water at Annadale. 

When on the water, paddle on the right hand side. Always pass on the right. 

Between Stranmillis Weir and Lagan Weir
3 miles, 4.8 km
 1 Governor's Bridge, Stranmillis  Pontoon Managed by the Department for Communities. Contact the River Manager for access on 028 9031 5304.  
 2 Ravenhill Reach, Ormeau Embankment Public Slipway and Pontoon Managed by the Department for Communities. Contact the River Manager  for access on 028 9031 5304.
 3 Maysfield Basin, May's Meadow  Steps Managed by Allstate on behalf of Belfast City Council. Contact the Facilities Manger for access at anifacilities@allstate.com
 4 Lanyon Quay, rear of Waterfront Hall  Pontoon Managed by the Department for Communities. Contact the River Manager for access on 028 9031 5304.
 5 Queens Quay, east side of Lagan Weir  Steps  Managed by the Department for Communities. Contact the River Manager for access on 028 9031 5304. 

 

Please note: 

  • The Guide to the Tidal Lagan - Lagan Bridge to Stranmillis Weir should be consulted for navigation guidance. 
  • Sections of the river are subject to closure for events. See the Department for Communities Website for scheduled closures.
  • Applications to hold events on the river are made via the River Manager. Application forms can be found on the Department for Communities website. 
  • Aerators are in operation at several locations on this section. 
  • Maysfield Basin is managed by Allstate and prior arrangements should be made with the Facilities Manager for access and egress at this point. The basin has a floating boom across the entrance. Small crafts can pass over this. An aerator is in operation in the Basin. 
  • The river is not suitable for recreational activities involving either deliberate immersion or a high risk of immersion. There is a risk of infection and disease from pathogenic organisms contained in the urban catchment run-off entering the river. 

Drum Bridge to Stranmillis Weir 

The second section is between Drum Bridge and Stranmillis Weir, the upper section. This lies at the heart of Lagan Valley Regional Park. There are a number of weirs on this stretch. It is suited to more experienced paddlers. Downstream of Drum Bridge there are three weirs to cross before the river reaches Edenderry.

There is a relatively flat section from Edenderry to Shaws Bridge. This is accessible at Minnowburn and Shaws Bridge. Below Shaws Bridge there is a weir and slalom course to cross. This is next to Clement Wilson Park. Use the steps at Lock Keeper’s Cottage to access the water downstream to Stranmillis Weir. 


Between Drum Bridge and Stranmillis Weir
6.1 miles, 9.8 km 
 1 Drum Bridge, Upper Malone Road  Steps  Open access 
 2 Minnowburn, Edenderry Road Steps Open access
 3 Shaw's Bridge Boat House Steps Open access
 4 Clement Wilson Park  Steps  Open access 
 5 Lock Keeper's Cottage, Milltown Road Steps Open access

Other recreational users 

The River Lagan is designated as a course fishery. Angling takes place primarily on the east bank downstream of Stranmillis Weir. Angling is permitted from 150m downstream of Red Bridge (Lock Keepers Cottage) to Stranmillis Weir. Angling is also permitted Upstream along the river from Minnowburn to Clement Wilson Park. Permits can be obtained from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.