Northern Ireland Walks
Please use the links below to view full route information including descriptions, elevation profiles, interactive maps and GPS downloads.
You can also view an overview map of all the routes in the using the Northern Ireland Walk Map
|Banagher Glen||5 miles (8 km)||Follow the riverside trail through these ancient oak woodlands and look out for red squirrels on this walk through the beautiful Banagher Glen Nature Reserve. The walk takes you through a steep ravine along the Altnaheglish river leading to the Altnaheglish Reservoir at the end of the route. Along the way you'll pass oak, ash, hazel, hawthorn and holly trees with lots of wildlife to look out for. There's also pretty waterfalls, wonderful views of the Sperrin Mountains and the splendid Banagher Dam to enjoy.|
You can start the walk from the car park at Strone Hill, a few miles south of Dungiven. From here you pick up the riverside trail heading east towards the reservoir, passing Teeavan Hill and Streeve Mountain.
|Carnfunnock Country Park||2 miles (2.5 km)||Enjoy waymarked trails, pretty gardens and lovely views of the Antrim Coast in this country park near Larne in County Antrim. There's 191 hectares to explore with woodland trails, a maze, a beautiful sculptured walled garden and a wonderful coastline.|
|Castle Ward||2 miles (4 km)||The Castle Ward estate covers 332 hectares (820 acres) with an 18th-century mansion, landscaped gardens and miles of great cycling and walking trails. The estate overlooks the beautiful Strangford Lough and includes the brilliant Lough Trail walking and cycle route. The National Trust have devised six great trails which expose you to the wonderful scenery around the estate. Features include the woodland trails in Castle Ward Forest, a waterside path along Temple Water and the lovely Walled Garden.|
You can virtually explore the Castle Ward estate using the google street view link below!
To extend your cycling you can pick up the Strangford Lough circuit which takes you around the magnificent body of water.
|Castlewellan Forest Park||2 miles (4 km)||Enjoy a walk around Castlewellan Lake and Arboretum in County Down. The park contains the national Arboretum of Northern Ireland with a variety of interesting specimens from all over the world. There is also a peace maze and the the Scottish baronial Castlewellan castle. It's a lovely place, with views towards the Mourne Mountains and surrounding countryside to enjoy. The park is also great for mountain biking with green, blue and red grade trails to try.|
|Cave Hill Country Park||3 miles (5 km)||Visit this wonderful country park and enjoy fabulous views over Northern Ireland on this circular walk in Belfast. On a clear day you can see as far as the Isle of Man and Scotland from the high points.|
This walk starts at the Belfast Castle car park. The fine 19th century Scottish baronial castle sits in an elevated position at 400 feet (120 m) above sea level with fine views over the city below. The grounds of the castle are very attractive with wide lawns and pretty gardens to enjoy before the climb. After heading through the castle estate you start the challenging climb up to the 370 metres (1200 ft) high hill. On the way you will pass the three large man made caves and interesting geological formations including 'Napoleon's Nose'; a basaltic outcrop which resembles the profile of the famous emperor Napoleon. At the summit you will find McArt's Fort and stunning views of the Mourne Mountains, Scrabo Tower and Slieve Croob. You can descend the same way or follow more footpaths across the hill to turn it into a longer circular walk. At the end of your descent you can enjoy refreshments at the Belfast Castle restaurant and learn about the history of the area in the visitor centre.
You can virtually explore the park's trails using the google street view link below!
|Comber Greenway||7 miles (12 km)||This cycling and walking trail runs along National Cycle Network route 99 and a disused railway line from Belfast to Comber. It makes for a great traffic free cycle along a nice tree lined tarmac path. As such it's great for families or anyone looking for an easy introduction to cycling. The route runs for about 7 miles from Dee Street in East Belfast to the town of Comber in County Down. You'll pass the C. S. Lewis statue at the Holywood Arches, and the Bloomfield Walkway in Belfast before enjoying nice views of Stormont, Scrabo Tower, the Harland & Wolff cranes and the Belfast Hills. |
To extend your cycle you can continue along National Route 99 towards Scrabo Hill, and Newtownards. This takes you to the tip of the beautiful Strangford Lough.
To extend your walking in the area you could climb to Scrabo Tower which is not far from the route. You can follow footpaths to the top of the hill where you will find the well known landmark.
|Crawfordsburn Country Park||1 miles (1 km)||Follow the waymarked walking trails through this large country park in County Down. The park is located near Bangor on the coast with beautiful beaches, views across Belfast Lough, meadows, streams, wooded glens and a stunning waterfall. Look out for wildlife including seals, herons, shags and guillemots.|
|Giant's Causeway||2 miles (3.5 km)||This spectacular coastal causeway in Northern Ireland has a unique polygonal landscape feature. In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, the Giant's Causeway was named as the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. The geological features include the 'Organ' where huge columns of basalt resemble Organ Pipes. You'll also pass the the Giant's Boot and a natural stone throne known as the Wishing Chair. You can also climb the 167 Shepherd's Steps for wonderful views across the coast. The is also a nature reserve so look out for a variety of flora and fauna including many species of plants, fungi, lichen, birds, spiders, beetles and butterflies.|
The walk starts at the excellent National Trust Visitor Centre where you will find a wealth of information and a good sized car park. You then follow footpaths past the headland of Great Stookan, Port Granny, Grand Causeway and Port Noffer. The walk returns via the Organ and the Giant's Chair. The walk can be extended by continuing along the North Antrim Coast Path towards Dunseverick.
If you would like to visit the causeway by bike then National Cycle Network Route 93 runs to the site along the fantastic Causeway Coast Cycle Route. You can pick up the trail from Castle Rock, Portrush or Bushmills.
|Glenariff Forest Park||1 miles (2 km)||This 1185 hectare (2928 acre) forest has miles of walking trails including the waterfall walk and scenic trail.|
The waterfall walk is particularly lovely with footpaths leading you through steep wooded gorges with a series of beautiful falls to enjoy. There are some steep sections but it is a fairly easy climb and the footpaths are well maintained. There are some wonderful views of the surrounding area to enjoy from the high points.
The park is located in Glenariff County Antrim. There are good facilities with a car park, tea room and gift shop.
|Gosford Forest Park||4 miles (6 km)||Follow the way marked trails through this large park near the village of Markethill in County Armagh. It's a great place for walking with miles of woodland trails, streams, waterfalls, ponds, grassland and a lovely arboretum to visit. |
Features of the park include an area of open parkland with deer and rare breeds. There is also a lovely Arboretum with attractive conifer and broadleaf trees with a pretty walled garden.
There are several colour coded walking trails to try and also a cycling trail. These are of varying lengths and difficulty and take you to the impressive 19th century Gosford Castle, the Drumlack River and Draper's Hill. See the maps below for details of the trails.
|Lagan Towpath||21 miles (34 km)||This cycle and walking route follows the towpath of the River Lagan from Belfast to Lisburn along National Cycle Network routes 9 and 93. It's a nice surfaced path making it ideal for families or anyone looking for a safe traffic free ride.|
You start off in the centre of Belfast and head south west passing Ormeau Park and Belvoir Forest Park before coming to the lovely Lagan Valley Regional Park. In this park there are a variety of habitats including wet meadows, ponds, mixed beech woodland and attractive parkland.
After leaving the city centre you continue through the beautiful Lagan Valley, passing the villages of Edenderry and Drumbeg before coming to the city of Lisburn.
This route finishes in Lisburn but if you want to extend your cycling you can continue west along National Cycle route 9 which will take you towards the Down Royal Racecourse and the villages of Halfpenny Gate and Broomhedge in County Antrim. The route eventually reaches the beautiful Lough Neagh.
|Lagan Valley Regional Park||2 miles (3 km)||Starting from the Shaw's Bridge car park follow the Lagan towpath along the river Lagan on this lovely walk in Belfast. In the park there are a variety of habitats including wet meadows, ponds, mixed beech woodland and attractive parkland. The towpath makes for a nice, easy waterside cycle or walk.|
You can extend your exercise by continuing along the Lagan Towpath to Lisburn.
|Mount Stewart||1 miles (1.5 km)||Enjoy the woodland trails, lakeside paths and beautiful gardens surrounding this 19th-century house in County Down. The footpaths are surfaced and well laid out so it is a nice easy walk for families or anyone looking for a peaceful afternoon stroll. There's 950 acres (380 ha) of National Trust managed estate to explore through farmland, woodland, orchards and a walled garden. The highlight is probably the lovely 7 acre lake which is surrounded by paths lined with Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Magnolias. There's also statues, follies and other interesting structures such as the Temple of the Winds. From this octagonal building there are great views towards Strangford Lough, the Mourne Mountains and Belfast Hills. The area is great for wildlife spotting too. Look out for buzzards, red squirrels and various butterflies around the meadows.|
The Strangford Lough Cycle Route runs close to the estate so if you wanted to visit by bike you could follow the trail from Newtownards before turning right down Ballycastle Road toward the estate.
You can virtually explore the paths of the estate on the google street view link below!
|Newry Canal||20 miles (32 km)||Enjoy a walk or cycle along the Newry Canal on this waterside route in Northern Ireland. The route follows National Cycle Network Route 9 along the canal towpath from Newry to Portadown. It's about 20 miles and makes for a nice, easy cycle or walk. The route passes a series of old stone bridges and pretty locks. The views of the surrounding countryside are great and you should also see lots of water loving wildlife along the way.|
The route begins in Newry town centre and heads north to Jerretspass, Poyntzpass and Scarva before finishing in Portadown. Highlights on the route include Lough Shark and Brackagh Nature Reserve near Portadown. A good place for refreshments is the lovely village of Scarva. The canalside village is well known for its park with a bandstand and prize winning floral displays. You can enjoy a snack at the tea rooms and visitor centre.
At Portadown this route links with the Lough Neagh circuit which runs around the largest freshwater lake in Britain and Ireland.
|Oxford Island||1 miles (2 km)||Visit this beautiful nature reserve on the shores of Lough Neagh on this easy circular walk. There's 282 acres (113 hectares) to explore on a series of good footpaths and walking trails. Habitats in the reserve include reed beds, open water, species rich wet grassland, wildlife ponds and wildflower meadows. There's lots of wildlife to look out including a variety of butterflies and birds such as Lapwing, Curlew and Goldeneye. You can also have a stroll along the pretty Kinnego Marina and enjoy wonderful views over Lough Neagh.|
National Cycle Network route 9 runs right to the reserve so it's easy to visit by bike. The Loughshore Trail which runs right around the Lough also passes Oxford Island on the way.
To extend your walking in the area you could visit the nearby Peatlands Park. Here you'll find miles of trails taking you to peatlands, orchards, woodland, boardwalks and two nature reserves.
Just to the west is Marghery country park where there are another 3 miles of woodland walking trails with more great views over Lough Neagh.
|Peatlands Park||3 miles (5.5 km)||Follow the walking trails around this large park in County Armagh. The park is located near Lough Neagh and Dungannon. There's a number of good waymarked, colour coded walks taking you around the 680 acre site. The park consists of peatlands, orchards, woodland, boardwalks and two nature reserves. You can park at the car park and then follow the trails east through woodland to the pretty Derryadd Lake. There's lots of wildlife to look out for with butterflies, damselflies and birds such as meadow pipits and cuckoos.|
If you would like to continue your walking in the area then you could visit the nearby Oxford Island Nature Reserve. The large reserve is located on the shores of Lough Neagh and consists of reed beds, open water, species rich wet grassland, wildlife ponds and wildflower meadows.
Just to the north is Marghery country park where there are another 3 miles of woodland walking trails with views over Lough Neagh.
You can visit the park by bike by following National Cycle Network Route 94 and Regional Route 11 from Craigavon.
|Roe Valley Country Park||2 miles (3 km)||Enjoy a waterside walk along the River Roe in this country park near Limavady. You can start your walk from the visitor centre next to the ornamental lake. The footpaths then follow the River Roe which meanders pleasantly through the park. Along the way there are pretty waterfalls, spectacular gorges and attractive woodland. In the warmer months the park is covered with pretty wildlflowers.|
You can learn about the area's interesting industrial heritage in the museum and visit the remains of industrial buildings and the restored water wheel.
National Cycle Network Route 93 runs past the park so you could pick it up from Limavady and head south to visit by bike.
|Scrabo Tower||1 miles (1 km)||Scrabo Hill and country park is located near Newtownards in County Down, Northern Ireland. You can follow footpaths to the top of the hill where you will find the well known landmark Scrabo Tower. The 19th century tower is 125 feet (38 m) high and visible for miles around. The views from the summit of Scrabo Hill extend to Strangford Lough, the Mourne Mountains and the Scottish coast. You can pick up the footpath from the car park. It's a short climb of less than half a mile but quite steep.|
After descending the hill you can continue to explore Scrabo Country Park. There are nice woodland trails through Killynether Woods with lots of bluebells in the springtime.
To extend your walking in the area you pick up the Comber Greenway from nearby Comber. This cycling and walking trail runs along National Cycle Network route 99 and a disused railway line from Belfast to Comber.
|Slemish Mountain||1 miles (1.5 km)||Follow the Slemish Path to the 1437 ft summit of this mountain in County Antrim. The challenging path starts from the car park near Broughshane and climbs steeply to the summit. Here you are rewarded with fine views over Antrim, the Scottish coast, Ballymena town, Lough Neagh and the Sperrin Mountains.|
|Slieve Donard||5 miles (8 km)||Climb to the highest peak in Northern Ireland on this challenging walk in the Mourne Mountains. It's a beautiful area with a waterside section along the Glen River a real highlight of the walk. The river has rocky pools, pretty waterfalls and surrounded by attractive woodland. The climb to the summit passes along the Mourne Wall which runs for 22 miles over 15 mountains. It was constructed in the early part of the 20th century. |
The walk starts from the attractive coastal town of Newcastle in County Down. After leaving the car park in Donard Park the route heads through the Scots Pine and Oak of Donard Forest. You'll follow the lovely Glen River Path to the Mourne Wall where you turn left to reach the 850m (2,789 ft) summit. From here the views are spectacular with Newcastle Beach, the Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales all visible on a clear day. Also at the summit you will find a small stone tower and two prehistoric burial cairns.
If you would like to extend your walking in the area then you could visit the nearby Tollymore Forest Park with its riverside walks and waymarked, woodland walking trails.
|Tollymore Forest Park||6 miles (10 km)||Enjoy miles of woodland trails and a waterside stroll along the beautiful Shimna River on this circular walk in the Mourne Mountains. There are 1,600 acres to explore with the park surrounded by mountains and located close to the coastal town of Newcastle in County Down. In the park there are four colour code trails to follow of varying lengths. The trails are all signposted and visit the arboretum, the Shimna River and the two forested hills known as the Drinns.|
This walk starts from the car park near Bryansford and passes along the river with its series of pretty bridges, rocky outcrops and waterfalls. One of the bridges dates from the early 18th century.
The walk then passes along a series of woodland trails with a variety of interesting trees such as monkey puzzle, eucalyptus and impressive giant redwoods. There are also some viewpoints to climb where you can enjoy fantastic views over the surrounding area. From the Curraghard viewpoint in the south eastern corner of the park there are views over the Northern Mournes, Dundrum Bay, Newcastle and the Irish Sea.
If you would like to extend your walking in the area then you could climb the nearby Slieve Donard.