The designation ‘Country Park’ does this dramatic riverside no favours. It suggests an area of parkland or forest with a few pleasant wooded walks. Roe Valley Country Park is so much more than this and if explored properly is well worth travelling a distance for a ‘Grand Day Out’.
In just over 2 miles of river you have an impressive rocky gorge with spectacular viewing point; substantial sections of surviving native woodland; the remains of the stronghold of the O’Cahan Clan; clear industrial remains of water power and milling; a flax green with attendant guard tower; a building connected with the potato famine; and Northern Ireland’s first hydro-electric “Electric Light Station” (opened in 1896 and it supplied power to Limavady up until 1963). Despite the major section of pathway currently closed awaiting repair, the quality of walking is excellent whether you are looking for a short stroll or a day’s exploration.
The Park is most easily accessed by car and there are four car park spread along its 2 mile length. However walking from Limavady, via the O’Cahan’s Rock car park entrance is definitely an option (1.5 miles), as is walking from the Roe Park Hotel (0.5 miles) should you be staying there.
The Dogleap visitor centre sits at the middle of a figure of eight of paths – 2 downstream either side of the river and 2 upstream likewise. Upstream and downstream option both make for a good walk with the option to doing both with a cafe stop in between in the Ritter Tearooms.
If your time is limited I have also included a much shorter walk looping around the centre itself easy level paths and then cutting downstream under the “Green Bridge” on a short but much rougher and steeper path which cuts though the rocky riverside.
|A short, but varied walk around the Dogleap visitor centre||0.5 miles / 0.8 km||50 feet climb|
|Downstream to the domain of the O’Cahan||6.3 miles / 10.1 km||1250 feet climb|
|Upstream – races, weirs and water power (Long and moderate)||3.7 miles / 6 km||330 feet climb|
|Upstream – races, weirs and water power (Shorter and easier)||2.4 miles / 3.8km||140 feet climb|