Northern Ireland's Walking Wonders

Posted on October 12, 2017 @ 11:00 AM in Walking

Northern Ireland is renowned worldwide for its lush emerald green landscape and spectacular rugged coastline (much of which has featured in Game of Thrones). However, we want to share with you some locations you may not have uncovered yet with our handpicked selection of walks we believe are sure to leave you in awe and wonder, whether they are natural, historic, manmade or full of wildlife.


Natural Wonders

From striking granite tors to rushing waterfalls and volcanic landscapes these walks are full of natural wonder.

Bearnagh and Meelmore

Bearnagh & Meelmore, The Mourne Mountains, Co. Down, 6 mile circular route
One of the most distinctive mountains in the Mournes, Slieve Bearnagh (739m) is renowned for the granite tors on its summit. Slieve Meelmore (704m) is also included in this walk, creating a circuit with superb views on a good day stretching as far as the Sperrins, Lough Neagh and Strangford Lough. Image (left) credit: David Doyle Photography

Cranny Falls

Cranny Falls, Carnlough, Co. Antrim, 1.2 mile linear (one way) route
Just a stone's throw from the scenic Causeway Coastal Route, this lovely walk along the old railway line to the limestone quarry offers fantastic views of Carnlough Bay. A short walk from the quarry through the nature reserve will lead you to the beautiful Cranny Falls cascading over the rocks into the tranquil pool below. 
Image (right) credit: Steven Hanna Photography

Glenariff

Glenariff Nature Reserve Waterfalls Walk, Glenariff, Co. Antrim, 1.5 mile circular route
Glenariff, meaning ‘Queen of the Glens’, is widely regarded as the most beautiful and striking of the 9 Glens of Antrim. Boasting rich woodland and steep glacial features, the crowning glory has to be the impressive double-drop of the Ess-na-Larach Waterfall one of the many dramatic waterfalls that punctuate the deep sided gorge of the Glenariff Glen Nature Reserve. The waterfalls provide a distinctive atmospheric noise to any walker who chooses to explore this stunning part of Northern Ireland.

Slieve Gullion

Slieve Gullion, Forkhill, Co. Armagh, 9.5 miles circular
Centred on the craggy heather covered hills of the Ring of Gullion (AONB) a circular ring dyke volcano that erupted over 50 million years ago, Slieve Gullion rises to 573m and is the centrepiece of this volcanic landscape. . It has a rich association with Irish myth & legend. In one tale, Finn McCool was bewitched by Miluchra on the summit of Slieve Gullion at the Lough of the Calliagh Bhirra and to this day the superstition survives that if you bathe in the lough your hair will turn white. The walk begins in in the forest park following a forest road uphill to provide great views of the Ring Dyke.

Manmade Wonders

There are many manmade wonders that you need to see to believe, discover trainquil surroundings in a mountain top location.

Reservoir Views

Reservoir Views, Annalong, Co. Down, 9.3 miles linear (one way)
Tucked into the spectacular Mourne Mountains you will find the tranquil waters of the Silent Valley and Ben Crom Reservoirs. Supplying Belfast with piped water the walk here links the south Mournes to Newcastle via Slieve Binnian, Slievemalagan and the Glen River. Impressive views of Slient Valley Reservoir can be enjoyed from Slieve Binnian and of Ben Crom Reservoir from Slievelamagan. A tough but rewarding walk in the high Mournes.
Image (right) credit: David Doyle Photography

Historic Wonders

Discover the ancient past of Northern Ireland explore castle ruins, 18th Century towers and follow the trail of a historical railway.

Tully Castle Loughshore Walk

Tully Castle Loughshore Walk, Derrygonnelly, Co. Fermanagh, 1.2 miles circular
This charming walk takes in the grounds of Tully Castle with commanding views of the castle ruins and the surrounding countryside. Located on a small headland jutting into the Lower Lough Erne this fortified house and bawn built during the plantation era in the early 17th century is sure to impress. The path goes around the headland through deep woodland with a delightful mixture of broadleaved trees dominated by ash and beech. The undergrowth glows a vibrant green with mosses, lichen, wood sorrel, orchids, blue bells and ferns carpeting the ground in different seasons. 
Images credit: Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark

Heritage Railway

Heritage Railway Path, Portballintrae, Co. Antrim, 1.5 miles circular
Following the Bushmills Heritage Railway famous for the world's first commercially run 'hydro-electric' powered tram system this walk takes in stunning coastal scenery against the backdrop of the River Bush, Runkerry Strand and the Giant's Causeway. This walk can easily be extended to provide coastal off-road access to the Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland's only World Heritage Site.

Springhill

Springhill House Sawpit Hill Walk, Moneymore, Co. Derry~Londonderry, 1.1 miles (circular)
Take a stroll through the beautiful grounds of Springhill Estate. A location steeped in history, the Sawpit Walk takes you through the woodland to an 18th Century corn mill tower. From here take a moment to enjoy the view down the beautiful avenue of Beech trees, where on a clear day you can see the Sperrin Mountains and Slieve Gallion.

Wildlife Wonders

Amazing places to discover wildlife including migrating Brent Geese and Red Squirrels.

Lough Foyle Trail

Lough Foyle Trail, Limavady, Co. Derry~Londonderry, 10.4 miles linear (one way)
A sheltered haven on the Atlantic coast, a refuge for sailors, wintering birds, breeding seals and walkers. This is a flat, off-road walk and the expanse of Lough Foyle can be viewed on the other side of the sea wall. Depending on tide levels, you will see various waders and wildfowl (including Brent Geese in winter) feeding on the mudflats at the river mouth. 

Castle Archdale

Castle Archdale Tom's Island Walk, Irvinestown, Co. Fermanagh, 1.8 miles circular 
The mixed 520 hectare broadleaved and coniferous lowland forest in Castle Archdale located on the eastern shores of Lower Lough Erne is a forest richly varied in terms of views, features and includes ruined castles, WWII docks & buildings, ancient woodland and views over the Lough a number of Islands. On a walk through the forest keep a watchful eye (and ear) out for the rustling and quick dash of Red Squirrels overhead. 
Image (left) credit: Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark

Kiltonga Nature Reserve

Kiltonga Nature Reserve, Newtownards, Co. Down, 0.6 miles circular
This short accessible lakeside pathway is ideal for those wishing to take a closer look at swans, mallards, little grebe, moorhens and coots from the observation area.

Share with us your favourite walks to share in future blogs using #WalkNI on social media.

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Executive

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She enjoys getting out and exploring the fantastic adventures on offer across Northern Ireland.

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