Ligoniel Dams provide an urban oasis of woodland, grassland and old mill races on the outskirts of north Belfast.

This area that was once at the heart of the Belfast linen industry, has undergone a renaissance of interest with a network of paths along former dams and mill races.

The site, which is perfect for the leisurely walker and children, derives its name from ‘Lag an Aoil’ meaning ‘hollow of the limestone’ as it snuggles into the hollow of Wolf Hill.

It hosts a charming array of wildlife including several species of bat, dragonflies, damselflies and wildfowl – and there is a local fishing club.

Just off the main Ligoniel Road, opposite Mill Avenue, Ligoniel Park boosts mature trees, impressive views over north Belfast, scenic walks and interesting wildflowers which grow on the area’s limestone.

Ligoniel Park was formed from the grounds of Ligoniel House, which was owned by the manager of the old Ligoniel mill. The park’s pond was once a mill dam, known locally as Boodle’s Dam.

Where to walk….

Ligoniel Dams

Explore over a mile of pathways passing the old mill before climbing the steps into woodland and along the top of the dam site. Heading south towards Forthriver, there is a network of paths with great views of the city, Divis Mountain and the Mournes

Walks for reasonably fit people with at least a little country walking experience. May include unsurfaced rural paths. Walking boots and warm, waterproof clothing are recommended.

Download walk map

Ligoniel Park

Take a loop around the outdoor fitness equipment in the open parkland or head into the woodland’s more informal network of tracks. You may also take the linking path onto the Ballyutoag Road and onwards to Cave Hill Country Park.

Google Streetview links of Ligoniel Trails

Click on Images and explore!

LigP1  LigD1  LigD2

There is open access to this site all year round.

Further Information….

By car
(BT14 8EG) From Belfast take Westlink Clifton Street exit and turn left. At roundabout take second exit onto Crumlin Road. After 2 miles turn left onto Ligoniel Road.  Stay on Ligoniel Road for 0.7 miles.  Ligoniel Park is right on the main Ligoniel Road and opposite Mill Avenue.   To get to Ligoniel Dams take a left onto Mill Avenue, this road then becomes Wolfhill Avenue South and Thornberry Road. After 0.3 miles take a right onto Thornberry Mews and park at the end of this road, you will then see a tarmac path on the left which leads you to the Dams.  Please consider residents when parking in this area.

Thornberry Mews streetview 

Buy OS Map 

OS Map

Public transport
Metro* 57/57A from Chichester Street or Royal Avenue, alighting Mill Avenue. Take care if crossing the road into Ligoniel Park. To access the Dam site, continue to Wolfhill Avenue South, onto Thornberry Road and Thornberry Mews.

*Check timetables before setting out at


Ligoniel Dams Virtual Tour

There is open access to this site all year round
There is a children’s storytelling area featuring wooden carved seats
A platform for pond dipping is installed
The site also has an orchard and there are steps with handrails

Fishing is organised in the area. Contact the Ligoniel Improvement Association for details on 028 9039 1225