Eimear FlanaganMark TaylorGlyn O'Brien
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Your Favourite Walks of 2015

Posted on December 16, 2015 @ 11:51 AM in Walking

One thing is for sure we are not short of amazing places to go walking in Northern Ireland.  With so many routes to choose from on WalkNI we thought we’d give you the inside knowledge on some of the best places and hidden gems that fans of WalkNI were raving about in 2015.  See below for some of the best comments left on walking routes this year from lesser known short strolls to long distance waymarked ways hopefully you will be inspired to try somewhere new!

Mourne Mountains

Bunkers Hill Walk Play Trail  - A 1.2 mile circular walking and family cycling trail with panoramic viewpoints and natural play trail in Castlewellan.

“Great walk and play park. Fantastic views of the castle, churches and the mountains.” Shireen, Jan 2015

Castlewellan Forest Park Slievenaslat Walk - A 2.7 mile circular walk trail with a steep climb through the forest park featuring spectacular views of the Mourne Mountains and surrounding drumlin landscape of Co Down.

“This is a lovely walk with fantastic views of the Mourne Mountains.” Yvonne Falls, July 2015

Castlewellan Slievenaslat

Hen, Cock and Pigeon Rock - A 5.9 circular route using open mountain terrain in the western Mournes giving a taster of views that can be experienced in the region.

“…simply breath taking the view from Hen Mountain is as good as that from any of the others. Bring a good camera as you'll get some great pics …” - Roy, April 2015

“I first did this walk over 20 years ago and revisited yesterday on a glorious March day. We only had a few hours to walk so this was ideal. The views were incredible, we could clearly see Bearnagh, Binnian and Donard in all their glory and as far as Cave Hill in Belfast. Sat on the tors on Cock Mountain enjoying the sun on our faces. Wonderful!”Diana, March 2015

Meelmore and Meelbeg - A moderate 5.5 mile circular walk in the High Mournes, summiting two of the seven highest peaks in the region, Slieve Meelmore and Slieve Meelbeg.

“Another beautiful walk in the Mournes, the already stunning scenery that bit more special in the snow. A short distance walk but still challenging, I would recommend a packed lunch and plenty of water to fuel you up the peaks. Take time to enjoy the views, they're well worth it.”  - Claire, Feb 2015

Slieve Binnian   - A 7 mile circular walking route following the Mourne Wall to the summit of Slieve Binnian (747m), traversing between the spectacular South and North Tors before descending along a track past the Blue Loughand Annalong Forest.

SLieve Binnian

“what a fantastic walk and the scenery is something else…if you haven't been up I would highly recommend you go” Caroline Sayle, Oct 2015

“This has just become my favourite of all the major peaks in the Mournes… it was spectacular. Tough going at the start right up to the summit but once there it was time to take the weight off and enjoy the fantastic views all around...from Wee Binnian, Annalong Wood right across to Donard, Commedagh, Bearnagh and Meelmore/Meelbeg! The view over Ben Crom is as good as it gets.”Neil Armstrong, May, 2015

Belfast

Cave Hill Country Park - A challenging 4.5 mile circular route featuring archaeological sites and fantastic panoramic views of Belfast and beyond.

“A must see destination in N.Ireland. What a view you are delighted with once you reach the top ..AWESOME !” – Siddhesh Deodhar, June 2015

Cave Hill

Newtownabbey Way  - 4.3 mile linear walking and cycling route linking Corr’s Corner to the shores of Belfast Lough at Whiteabbey.

“A gem! First time at this lovely place. Train from Bangor and return from Whiteabbey. Can't wait to come back!" – Diane Given, April 2015

North Coast & Antrim

Antrim Hills Way  - Featuring expansive panoramas and challenging climbs, this 22mile walk traverses cliffs, moorland and country tracks before leading to Slemish Mountain.

….the views over Bally Galley, Larne and The Maidens were stunning in the morning sunshine. Even with the dry weather we needed our gaiters. We could see where Game of Thrones had been filming when we looked down from the top of the Sallagh Braes which was a bonus!” Mary D, September 2015

Causeway Coast Way - This 33 mile route, from Portstewart to Ballycastle, passes through the Causeway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a World Heritage Site and several Areas of Special Scientific Interest with some of the best coastal views in Ireland including wide bays, sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs.

“Walked from Giant's Causeway to Ballintoy, by far the best walk in Ireland. Great to see the section between Dunseverick and Portbraddan reopened by a new diverted path over the headland.” - Joshua April 2015

causeway coast wayImage: Old Town Road Trailbreakers

Dungonnell Way  - A 9.5-mile circular walk taking in Dungonnell Dam, Glenariff Forest Park and Skerry East Road, an outstanding opportunity to experience the isolation of the Antrim Hills without getting your feet wet.

“Wonderful views from Skerry East Road and interesting evidence of old iron ore workings. Then a section through forest before emerging onto the Garron Plateau. Magnificent. Lots of frogs and frog-spawn in the pools and puddles so spring has definitely arrived.” Patricia, March 2015

Portballintrae Causeway Loop - A 5.5mile circular walk from Portballintrae to the Giant’s Causeway, taking in stunning views of beach, cliff and rock formations. Runkerry Point.

“A really lovely walk, very breezy, but the views are stunning! Took us just over 3 hours, that included stopping for some pictures at the Giant's Causeway!”Lyn, April 2015

“A beautiful walk which a range of terrain and scenery.” Damien, Jan 2015

Portballintrae

Sperrins

Carntogher Way - Slí an Chairn - This 5.6 mile walk on the hills above the Glenshane Pass gives access to historic Carntogher Mountain with views across Lough Foyle to Errigal and Muckish in Donegal, Sawel and the high Sperrins, and south-east to The Mournes. 

“Lovely, quiet part of the world with great views, flower-filled meadows and interesting antiquities. If you have gaiters, put them on as it's quite wet and boggy in places. The walk is easily completed in three hours. If you set aside four hours, there are a few tracks that near the summit that could be worth exploring.”Dereck Flack, August, 2015

Craignamaddy Circuit  - A particularly scenic part of the Sperrins Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The 12.8 mile circular route offers stunning views of Glenelly and the Owenkillew Valley.

“We did this walk on a blustery day. Great views. Great walk.” Rob, May 2015

Craignamaddy Circuit

Crockbrack Way  - A 7.2 mile circular walk that takes in the summits of Crockmore and Crockbrack in the eastern Sperrins.

“Excellent walk with quiet country roads and panoramic views to delight the senses.”Dereck Flack, July 2015

“Great walk with flowery lanes before you get to the tops and then huge views. Firm paths most of the way. For a visitor to N Ireland this is an excellent route to get a taste of the Sperrins.” – Jane, July 2015

Hudy’s Way  - A 5.8 mile circular route through open countryside and quiet country lanes

“Absolutely beautiful walk with a nice mixture of trail path types and scenery. It's the first time in a long time I have driven home from a walk of less than 10 miles feeling fulfilled. It's a must do!” Gareth McCormick, May 2015

Lough Fea  - A 2.6 mile circular walk around Lough Fea, one of the many delightful lakes dotted throughout the Sperrins Region.

“Wonderful walking around this beautiful lough! Spotted two otters at the Cookstown end!”D&K Wakefiled, August 2015

“…it is, and always will be, magical!”Sharon Kerr, July 2015

“A very special place to me for many reasons. A beautiful walk no matter what the weather sends.” Shaun Shepherd, June 2015

lough fea

Strangford

Castle Ward Boundary Trail  - This 8.1 mile circular is the longest walking trail within Castle Ward with plenty to see including built & natural heritage, Audley's Castle, Castle Ward House as well as Strangford Lough and its wildlife.

“The beauty of the boundary walk is it is so diverse going from open field to dense woodland to shore line. Plenty of wildlife around and we came across some birds of prey probably buzzards…” Peter, May 2015

Castle Ward

Kearney  - This 2.7 mile circular shoreline trail takes in the beauty of the rugged coastline, simple character of the dwellings and unspoilt, timeless character of the 19th century village.

“My favourite place, so peaceful and beautiful and on a good day the views are simply stunning. it has a wild beauty to it and the village is idyllic.” Jeannie, March 2015

Fermanagh

Aghanaglack Walk, Ballintempo Forest  - A 7 mile circular walk through part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark

“A wonderful walk with stunning views of Cuilcagh mountain.” – Damien, June 2015

“Did this walk this morning with hubby and two dogs. Lovely views, men collecting turf and so peaceful” Kathryn, August 2015

If you’re out walking in northern Ireland leave your comments on the WalkNI route pages – we’d love to hear them! 

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

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