The Silent Valley 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.
Ringed by mountains, ‘The Valley’, located within the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, houses beautiful parkland, lakes and a pond. 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 the site including an iinformation centre, conference centre and education centre – all housed in two old colonial style bungalows and enjoying delightful views over the parkland.
Three new walking routes within the Silent Valley were launched in 2014: the all-ability loop, the reservoir loop and the viewpoint loop. These demonstrate the history and heritage of the site, such as the Mourne Wall and the Binnian Tunnell.
Drivers are required to obey the one-way traffic system which leads to a single large car-park at the south end of the reservoir grounds. The famous Mourne Wall was constructed to enclose the reservoir’s catchment area, built between 1904 and 1922 by the Belfast Water Commissioners.
The wall was crafted from natural granite stone using traditional dry stone walling techniques. On average the wall is about 1.5 metres high and 0.8 to 0.9 metres thick. It is 22 miles (35 km) long and passes over fifteen of the Mourne’s summits. Many walkers use the wall as a marker.