Surrounding the Belfast area, the hills provide a unique backdrop, some fresh air, wildlife, history, events and fantastic views of the city.
These can be enjoyed at Cave Hill and Belfast Castle or Black Mountain. A short walk the city streets can take you into the river valley paths at Colin Glen or up through the old Carnmoney Hill woodland. The upland heath and wildflowers of Divis or Slievenacloy are a must for fresh air.
Travelling from Black Mountain on to Divis walkers are rewarded with spectacular views of Belfast Lough, the Castlereagh Hills, the Ards Peninsula, the Isle of Man, Scotland, Slieve Gullion, the Mournes and Carlingford Mountains on the one side, and on the other the Sperrins, Antrim Plateau and Lough Neagh. The Samson and Goliath cranes, Titanic centre, Stormont Parliament Buildings and the peace lines are all visible.
Allied troops sailed from the US during WW2 to train on Divis for the D Day Landings and Cave Hill was the place where the American bomber that inspired the true story behind the Closing The Ring movie, crashed.
Cave Hill's McArt's Fort is thought to be inspiration for Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" as the hills are the embodiment of a sleeping giant.
The heritage of the Belfast Hills is rooted in the rivers that powered the mills that made cotton and also linen, prompting Belfast to be called Linenopolis.
Henry Joy McCracken and his 1798 United Irishmen rebellion is associated with the Belfast Hills as well as his sister Mary Ann.
The Belfast Hills have six main sites which are open to the public.
1. Carnmoney Hill
2. Cave Hill Country Park and Belfast Castle
3. Ligoniel mill dams and Park
4. Divis and the Black Mountain
5. Slievenacloy Nature Reserve
6. Colin Glen Forest Park
See our website and Belfast Hills app for maps to download, access into the Belfast Hill, where to walk, paths and routes as well as virtual visits, archaeological sites and online publications to discover more about the area.
NB. This map is based on the postcode and so may not reflect the exact location.
Route:Cave Hill Country Park
Distance:Four walks to choose from - Castle trail - 1 mile gentle walk, 2.4 mile Estate Trail, 4.5 mile Cave Hill Trail to 5 mile Ballyaghagan trail.
Time:Various - from 30 minutes to three hours.
Terrain:Varous- from pavements to country paths.
Point of interest:Belfast Castle, McArt's Fort, Hazelwood nature reserve, Belfast Zoo