Assessing geotechnical constraints on the development of Ulster Canal Greenway Phase 2

Last week, we spent two days carrying out a walkover survey of the disused Ulster Canal alignment between Smithborough in Co. Monaghan and Middletown in Co. Armagh with Clandillon Civil Consulting. Our task was to identify and map potential geotechnical and geological constraints to the development of this very interesting 22km cross border greenway project, to feed in to a wider technical scoping study for the project under preparation by Clandillon Civil Consulting. The project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

The canal alignment is quite overgrown and difficult to access but the views were beautiful and the industrial heritage of this unusually narrow canal is fascinating.

The canal’s original engineers and surveyors chose an optimal route, threading the canal between the local drumlins and moraines. This way, the canal follows the edge of the low-lying alluvial deposits between the drumlins and moraines, minimising the need for locks, while keeping the foundations in the competent glacial deposits at the toe of the adjacent slopes.

Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal Greenway, due to open in 2020, will make a fine addition to Ireland’s growing collection of greenways.