Silent Valley Sunday

A dull, overcast Sunday afternoon – typical Irish anytime weather – we felt we needed a walk to shake off Sunday lunch and opted for the Silent Valley, a place not far from where I grew up and where my parents used to take us for Sunday strolls.

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It is actually a reservoir and was built to gather water from the Mourne Mountains, now this is the main water supply for most of Co Down and a large part of Belfast. Ringed by mountains and located in the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty it is a gorgeous spot – my pictures here are dull and grey, they in no way do it justice.

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Getting there was not so gorgeous though – the roads are narrow and bumpy to say the least and with a very queasy Son in the back seat looking ominously like he might explode at any moment, relief was the emotion we felt as we arrived and paid to enter the grounds.

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The car park was surprisingly busy – we discovered Music In The Park events take place here throughout the summer months which attracted a lot of picnicking families. Rightly so, the atmosphere and setting complemented nicely the band playing on the stage in front of the visitor centre. We listened for a little while, ice creams in hand before setting off on our walk and explorations.

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There is a lot to see here – beautiful parkland, lakes and a pond area. Away from the visitor centre we found incredible peace and solitude, a unique landscape and plenty of wildlife.

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We followed one of three marked trails – the reservoir loop – which everyone enjoyed, not least because it was easy and flat going. We saw the famous Mourne Wall, built to enclose the catchment area of the reservoir between 1904 and 1922. It was made from natural granite stone using traditional dry stone walling techniques. The statistics are impressive – 22 miles long and it passes over 15 of the Mourne’s summits.

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We walked around the reservoir and found a place to perch and soak up the views.

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Through the woods and a soundtrack of buzzing accompanied us. Not sure if it was bees or wasps but when Son likened it to the Hunger Games and the tracker jackers we weren’t quite so happy and were glad to emerge unscathed.

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A lovely place to walk, the perfect Sunday afternoon.

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32 thoughts on “Silent Valley Sunday

  1. Hi Joy, I can see why it’s called the Silent Valley. However, it wasn’t – what was the buzzing? Did you manage to isolate it? A bit late in the year for bees or wasps. I know once I was in the woods and heard an almighty buzzing, which I eventually managed to track down to a decaying carcass of a deer! (The buzzing was the flies!).

    • I loved that too, we’ve come upon those types of shelters in other places (can’t remember where) but they’re lovely for sheltering from the elements or just sitting and taking a moment!

    • I’ve been there on one of those elusive sunny times and it is so lovely – it’s that kind of place that looks completely different in the various seasons and weathers – just gorgeous whatever!

  2. Looks like a perfect Sunday afternoon indeed Joy even with the clouds! Glad you escaped the wasps or bees! I used to have a horror of wasps when I was growing up – they were the one thing I disliked about summer! We get them here but European wasps are rare as they are treated as a serious pest and eradicated if found – it does mean you can sit outdoors with food and drink and not have to worry! Silent Valley looks such a serene and beautiful place – very tranquil 🙂

    • It’s a gorgeous spot Rosemary – I never quite appreciated how beautiful it was when my parents used to take us there and sometimes drag us around for a walk!! Now as an adult I get how lovely and special it is. That buzzing though… so creepy, I can’t tell you how spooky it felt and how loud right in the middle of that forest. We were all a bit perturbed and glad to see day light again! I loathe wasps here – eradication would be a great idea here too!!

  3. Ah – my homeland! Reading of your adventures and seeing your pictures has brought back so many memories. Thank you for sharing this with me. I look forward to reading more of your travels x

  4. I couldn’t help but giggle a bit when I read about the buzzing! Your sons description of the bees from hunger games gave me a rea mental picture! However, I have an unreasonable fear of bugs and I would have freaked out!

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