Benone Beach and tourist complex
53 Benone Avenue, Limavady, Co Londonderry, BT49 0LQ.
Situated on the A2 Seacoast Road, approximately 12 miles from the bustling market town of Limavady, is the award winning Benone Tourist Complex and Caravan Park.
In the shadow of the breath-taking view of Binevenagh mountain, this complex is an ideal holiday park for all the family. Established in 1987, Benone Tourist Complex has been the recipient of the Best TouringCaravan Park award and now boasting 101 touring caravan sites, including electric hook-up and 33 super sites, many with additional space to accommodate awnings. This family resort provides facilities, scenery and a welcome to rival any throughout Europe.
Holiday facilities, for use by residents and day-trippers, are provided for all age groups, with choices ranging from a 9 hole par three golf course, putting green, golf practice range, tennis courts, outdoor heated splash pools, activities area with inflatable bouncy castle and indoor games room.
Relax in the café or on the veranda with home cooked cuisine, or browse in the retail area for toys, souvenirs and postcards. Perfect for youth, community or church groups, Benone Tourist Complex also offers an events programme for July and August. Staff at Benone Tourist Complex will be happy to provide visitors with relevant tourist information as Benone Tourist Complex is a designated Local Information Office.
Benone Beach, a European Blue Flag beach, is only a few minutes walk from the complex and is easily accessible via dune paths.
Life and Legend
Benone strand is the official name for the place but the locals call the whole place Magilligan after the clan which once lived here. Now, officially, the beach facing north is Benone while Magilligan is the beach to the West, the eastern shore of Lough Foyle.
Magilligan, like Portstewart, Bushfoot and Ballycastle, has been laid down over the years as the sand moved westward, except that the sands at Benone are so much larger. Here there is a massive coastal plain that stretches for more than 12 square miles inland and stops at the river Foyle but the glory of the place is its wide shell strewn Atlantic beach, 7 miles long. At the point, there is a Martello tower, built in Georgian times to defend the estuary from an attack by Napoleon.
A car ferry runs between the point and Greencastle in Donegal on the other side of Lough Foyle. The trip usually takes about 15 minutes.
In the 1920s, the pioneer archaeologist Andrew May worked as an agricultural advisor. He pointed out to the farmers on the plain that their sandy soil was ideal for growing carrots and Magilligan carrots are famous to this day.
In the 1960s there was a simple camping site at Benone with a few tents and caravans. The present complex was developed in 1987 and now has a fully serviced caravan and camping site with many other features. The complex is open to both residents and day-trippers. The site is designed to be suitable for all ages and includes a 9-hole golf course, a putting green and a golf practice range. There are also tennis courts, outdoor heated splash pools, an outside activities area with a bouncy castle and an indoor games room.
The main building is a tourist information office, a café and a shop and over the summer there are many organised events.
Other Magilligan Features
In 1824, the Ordnance Survey set up a tower at Magilligan to provide a base line for the first scientific mapping of the British Isles. The tower isn’t very tall and looks like a low circular wall with a railing on top. Inside there is a small chamber made of Dungiven sandstone. The centre point of the base is set into this foundation, a mark made of platinum wire which is set in lead and concrete. A flagstone is set above the wire inlaid with a metal plate with a cross, directly above the mark in the wire below.
The length of the base was nearly eight miles. The accuracy of the work was immediately tested several times by measuring the first 400 feet and the results disagreed by no more than the tiniest fragment of a full stop. In 1960 the Ordnance Survey re-measured the 8 mile base line with electronic equipment and found the error to be 1 inch or 25 mm.
There is a Field Centre run by the Western Education and Library Board. The Magilligan Field Centre provides first class facilities in an informal atmosphere for outdoor learning. It is a residential and day facility committed to providing consistent, safe, high quality learning experiences related to the environment. Its programmes have been uniquely designed and many schools have benefited from it.
Video produced by Ambient Light Productions