The Silent Valley
Newcastle County Down
The Silent Valley is a Mountain Park situated in the high Mournes and features a dam ringed by dramatic Mountain panoramas. It is enclosed by the famous Mourne Wall and is located in the U-shaped valley of the Kilkeel river.
The reservoir was built to gather water from the Mourne Mountains and is the main water supply source for most of County Down and a large part of Belfast.
The 200 acre site below the reservoir is a combination of mountain, moorland and woodlands making it an ideal setting for flora and fauna.
This site is known as The Mountain Park and is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s surrounded with breathtaking countryside. To the east is Craggy Binnian, to the west are the Cliffs of Slievenag Lough, and to the north, Doon and Ben Crom.
It attracts around 50,000 visitors per year, most of whom come to enjoy the peace and solitude of this mountain area with its unique landscapes and varied wildlife.
Northern Ireland Water has provided a number of visitor facilities at Silent Valley including a restaurant, information centre, conference centre and craft shop. The information centre and restaurant are housed in two old colonial style bungalows, the last remnants of the construction period.The information centre tells the story of The Silent Valley via the exhibition.The restaurant has impressive views over the mountain-park and is opened from 11.00am to 6.30pm every day in June, July and August. It is open at weekends and bank holidays in April, May and September.There is a shuttle bus service at the mountain park which frequently operates to and from Ben Crom and the car park.This service is available during the months of May, June and September at weekends, and daily during July and August.The times are: Easter – 12.00-5.45pm May, June, Sept – Weekend/Public Holidays 12.00-5.45pm July-Aug daily 12.00-6.00pm
Contact Translink for more details. A return ticket costs £1.20 and £0.90 single.
Translink also operate scheduled bus services to the park during the summer months.
The Silent Valley Mountain Park is open daily: April-Sept 10.00am-6.30pmOct-March 10.00am-4.00pm.
There is Wheelchair access to the park.
Car – £3.00Minibus – £6.00Coach – £20.00Motorcycle – £1.50Pedestrian – Adult £1.50Pedestrian – Child £0.50Annual Permit – Car £20.00Annual Permit – School Bus £50.00 At the turn of the 19th century water supplies in Belfast were low. This was due to Belfast’s growing population and sudden industrialisation.
The Mournes were chosen primarily for their natural supply of pure water, which was a result of high rainfall in the area. The area was also free from pollution and industry.
When the water commissioners identified the high Mournes as a suitable source for providing clean water, their plans included a wall to surround the 9000 acre, catchment area.The wall is now known as the Mourne Wall and it is said to be, “a monument to the skill of the men who built it”.The Mourne wall stands up to 8 feet high on average and it is 3 feet wide. The wall stretches for 22 miles and runs over the highest peaks in the Mournes. Work began in 1904 and finished in 1922 taking a total of 18 years to build.The site of the old railway line that linked Annalong with the reservoir is now home to a new nature trail and was officially opened on 10 April 2006.The former railway line was constructed in the 1920’s to enable supplies and materials to be transported to the dam during its construction and also to ‘Watertown’, the settlement for the workers on the project.At its peak Watertown had close to 700 inhabitants, a cinema, boxing club, hospital and even its own policeman called Constable Lawless!The town and railway disappeared many years ago but wildlife in the area has flourished. The new trail stretches for a kilometre and a half and will allow visitors to the park to get closer to wildlife and wild flowers.It includes a new picnic area close to the Kilkeel River and there are excellent places for bird watching all along the route.The nature trail has been designed to be as accessible as possible and there are numerous information boards to tell the story of Silent Valley and the surrounding area. The Silent Valley, Head Road, Kilkeel, County Down, BT34 4HU
The reservoir lies within an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Mourne Mountain range.
If you are travelling by car from Belfast, head toward Newcastle, County Down. Drive though the town of Newcastle and follow the road for Kilkeel. Take the B27 from Kilkeel and turn right after 4 miles (Head Rd).The drive time from Belfast is approx. 1.30 hours.
For car hire information, checkout, Getting Around.
If you would like an accurate map reference location for The Silent Valley, type the postcode, BT34 4HU into Google Maps.
If you would driving directions to the The Silent Valley from anywhere in Northern Ireland, type the postcode, BT34 4HU into Route Planner.
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