The Lagan Navigation Trust was formed in 2009 and is a registered Charity.

The primary objective of the Trust is to reopen the Lagan Navigation from Belfast Harbour to Lough Neagh. The Trust and its partners are the custodians of the 300-year-old living industrial heritage asset and we do all of this with sustainability in mind to ensure that our outstanding national asset is well-kept for future generations to enjoy.



  • Conserving, managing and interpreting the natural, built, cultural and industrial heritage of the Navigation with stakeholders and partners;
  • Develop a multimedia digital history platform of the Lagan Navigation – ‘Just Add Water’
  • Restoring the historic structures of existing locks whilst enabling their use through providing new lock gates and safety structures (under consent);
  • Reinstate towpaths and create new paths into communities along the whole length of the Navigation;
  • Connect and extend the National Cycle Route Number 9 through the Operational Area giving multimodal connectivity throughout Northern Ireland;
  • Facilitating linkages between the Navigation, communities and public transport; and between existing facilities and additional ones e.g. links to villages in rural areas;
  • Re-watering the canalised sections along the Lagan through reinstating or repairing the weirs associated with each lock and lateral Navigation built in the 18th century;
  • Providing a new lock at Stranmillis, Belfast – ‘The Lagan Gateway’ to provide navigation from the tidal Lagan to the Navigation;
  • Contribute to community health and wellbeing opportunities through greater access to leisure, sporting and recreational pursuits;
  • Provide a range of additional facilities for visitors along the Navigation to enable boat usage and other water based activities, features and attractions;
  • Clearly defining the potential for positive social impact in local communities through Community Planning partnerships;
  • Establish The Waterways College (TWC) to drive formal, volunteering, educational and community outreach programmes which address the heritage and environmental skills deficit in Northern Ireland and further a field.
Lock 12 Hibernia Landscapes (002)



A selection of projects that we are currently involved in:

  • Lagan Gateway Project, Stranmillis

Belfast City Councils very ambitious plans to build a new lock number 1 on the Navigation provide a footbridge over has received support for c£3M investment from the Council which was levered by a contribution of £1m from Ulster Garden Villages, a philanthropic organisation based in NI, for Phase 1 of the works. This is an important step in the re-opening of the Lagan Navigation and walking routes connected to local facilities. The Project Board is now up and running with the objective of a start on site in late 2017/18 and completion in 2018/19.

  • The Industry Lighter, Lock No 3 Shaws Bridge

A number of funders worked in partnership to bring a derelict ‘lighter’ (the local term for a working barge) to lock Number 3. Now available as an educational facility and for hire the boat animates the story of industrial heritage in that area.

4. Lock 3 newforge (002)

  • Locks no 24, 25 and 26 Aghagallon Village

The community group and the Trust submitted a successful joint funding bid to examine the feasibility of clearance of vegetation in and around the three lock chambers and potential to upgrade the tow path with a new connection to village services for visitors. Resident’s objectives are to increase visitor numbers to boost economic activity in the village and for greater access to the Navigation.

  • ‘Just Add Water’

Throughout three centuries people have left a rich legacy of ground-breaking architecture in buildings and structures, early engineering design and agricultural practices, literature and stories. In order to capture and record this story with and for future generations the Trust is developing a digital history platform which will articulate the story of the Navigation, its people and industrial and cultural heritage


Lagan Navigation Trust
148 Hillsborough Road
County Down
Northern Ireland
BT27 5QY
Tel: +44 (0) 2892 66 32 32


Summer School bug analysis (002)


The Trust has three members of staff but many more ‘partners’ resources’ which help in the strategic and operational delivery of its objectives.

Network Inland Waterways Europe