Victoria Lock Picnic and Amenity Site
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Park and picnic at this historic canal lock, then hike up through Fathom Forest to viewpoint.
Victoria Lock was built in 1850 as part of the Newry Ship Canal but slowly declined after the advent of the railway and was closed to commercial traffic in 1966.
The site was landscaped and the lock automated in 2007, creating a lovely, peaceful, sheltered picnic site with access to Newry and the Albert Basin for pleasure boats at high tide. The history of the lock and the area is interpreted and there are fascinating interactive memorials to historic shipwrecks that occurred nearby.
The lock and canal are ideal for coarse fishing, with a number of purpose built platforms for perch, roach, bream and pike.
The wildlife of Carlingford Lough and the canal is enthralling, with regular visitations by herons, egrets, cormorants and swans as well as occasional sightings of otters and pinemartins in the dusk and dawn. Native spring bulbs have been planted on the site and as these naturalise, the grass under the trees will be studded with jewels of colour from January onwards. Butterflies such as the orange tip and the green veined white are common here and dragonflies can often be seen in Summer, cruising the waters of the canal.
Across the road there is a lovely walking route, using Forest Service paths, zigzagging through Fathom Forest to the top of Flagstaff where stunning panoramic views of the Ring of Gullion, the Lough and the Mourne Mountains will be revealed. It is planned that this route will be way-marked and improved over the next year as part of the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme.
Plans are also afoot to link the Portadown to Newry Canal footpath and cycleway to the East Coast Greenway that currently stops in nearby Omeath village. The link will hopefully give cyclists and pedestrians the unique experience of travelling the Middlebank that delineates the canal from Carlingford Lough, rejoining true dry land at Victoria Lock and heading on into medieval Carlingford.
Victoria Lock is a peaceful haven just minutes' drive from the hustle and bustle of Newry and its shopping centres. Stop here for a picnic, immerse yourself in the built heritage of the ship canal; perhaps be lucky enough to watch some wildlife; use the site as a base for an excursion to the top of Fathom or simply take a minute to stretch your legs and cross the lock gates for a unique view down the Lough. Whatever your plans for your day in the area, a visit to Victoria Lock is a must.