Love My Park – Month 4 – I take the Low Road

April saw me taking a wander along the Lower Newtownabbey Way. At this point I would like the reader to note the sacrifice I made this month, by undertaking this journey in what was possibly the coldest day without snow I have ever felt. I do this so that you might get to undertake this same journey in relatively mild climes. No need to thank me, although all donations will be gratefully received.Lower Newtownabbey Way-14

Its been a while since I’ve been down this way, which is odd since I studies at Jordanstown and used to be here all the time. I’ve been up and down the coast road as well loads of times and in Jordanstown Loch Shore Park more times than I can shake a stick at, but seem to have walked past the entrance to this little gem every time without noticing it even being there.

Lower Newtownabbey Way-45For the unitiated, the entrance to the Lower Newtownabbey Way is the entrance to the old Hotel, at the beginning of Whiteabbey Village. Its now a very nice development, lined with trees and a lovely place to start a little exploration. Walk on up through the development and past the open area next to the estate and all of a sudden you’re in a hidden forest paradise. Its not a big forest, or even a long walk, but its well worth the effort to go see, for all sorts of reasons.

Lower Newtownabbey Way-20First off, it is so peaceful and quiet here you could be forgiven for thinking you were on a deserted island. The little dip into the valley, along with the canopy of trees, kills every little niose but the local sounds. The gentle rush of water, the birds, even the insects are so clear.Amazing, given you are only half a mile away from one of the busiest stretches of dual carriageway in the country.

But its the water here that draws me. The river is making its last ditch to join the sea, but its not in a hurry to do so, rather taking its time in a leisurely way. The peaceful trickle would make you go to sleep, I am sure of it, if you were to rest your weary head.

Lower Newtownabbey Way-25And framing this watery path is a joining of the old and the new. The old Viaduct is majestic, a perfect throwback to olden days, to a time when architecture was big, bold and built to last.Lower Newtownabbey Way-33 A beautiful natural frame to the pathway that lies before you. (Can you tell I liked this place) Just past the old world, lies the new, the new railway bridge. A clean example of modern style, simple, clean and very elegant. Lower Newtownabbey Way-38Keep on heading up hill as far as the statues, to reach the edge of Monkstown Wood and complete your journey for this section. The path opens up, the view breaks into the distance with Monkstown ahead, but that’s for another day, so I head back towards the car. I must advise, if you intend to do the whole way, get a friend to drop you off or pick you up, its a long way back from the other side!

Lower Newtownabbey Way-35But the other beauty of this place is there is so much to see on the way back that woul would naturally have missed the first time, so many little side paths off to explore, to see the natural beauty of this hidden space. I think i must have photographed the viaduct form a dozen different places and a dozen more different angles.

Lower Newtownabbey Way-44Another aspect of this place is the people. If I met and chatted to one I met a dozen or more. Every one friendly, happy to chat about ‘their space’ and pass the time. Whether you are looking for a bit of peace, or a place to explore, or a place to just chill out, make your ‘Way’ to the lower path!


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