Connswater Community Greenway


Duration:4 years


Country: Belfast, UK

What did this project achieve?

Develop both 9km of parkland and flood protection for part of East Belfast

East Belfast has a history of severe flooding. In 2007 the largest flood on record affected 340 properties in the catchment areas of the Loop, Knock and Connswater rivers.

The EastSide Partnership – an organisation made up of local council, housing and social care groups – won funding from the Big Lottery Living Landmarks Programme to develop and build a 9km park scheme in the Connswater area.

The park scheme was combined with other works to protect against flooding. Both projects involved the same river corridors and there were areas of overlap for co-operation between the programmes.

The joint approach meant less disruption for local people and businesses as well as better value for money.

Difference the project has made

As well as providing flood protection for 1,700 properties in East Belfast the project has created a space that encourages healthier and more active communities, enhanced river water quality and improved diversity of local wildlife.

The project is credited with helping local economic development by providing better access to training as well as better life chances.

How the work was done

Phase 1

Engineers realigned the Knock river from its existing flow path to a more meandering route through the parkland.

Project engineers boosted flood protection in the area by increasing capacity for flow in the river channel and building flood walls.

Phase 2

Creation of 9km of linear park. This is a park in an urban area that is considerably longer than it is wide.

Work for the linear park saw 16km of foot and cycle paths laid and the construction or improvement of 26 bridges. Engineers also cleaned up 5km of rivers.

The project also created C.S. Lewis Square at the intersection of the Connswater and Comber Greenways.

The square celebrates the Belfast-born author's work with 7 bronze sculptures inspired by his classic children's novel 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.'

The sculptures include Aslan the lion, Mr Tumnus the faun and Jadis the White Witch.


A fantastic project that will make a massive difference to the face of East Belfast.

Karen Purdy

Bloomfield Community Group

Fascinating facts

300 projects across the UK were submitted for Living Landmark awards. Connswater was one of only 3 successful.

The project has made 1,700 properties safe against tides and flood.

The Conn O'Neill Bridge – restored as part of the scheme – is the subject of Belfast singer-songwriter Van Morrison's song 'Brown Eyed Girl.'

People who made it happen

  • Client: Belfast city council
  • Funder: Big Lottery Fund (Living Landmarks Programme)
  • Project managers: McAdam Design, Arup
  • Contractors: BSG Civil Engineering LTD, Farrans (Construction) Ltd

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