A challenging route, over unsurfaced paths, past the caves to McArt’s Fort, and crossing moorland, heath and meadows. You will discover much of what the park has to offer from archaeological sites and wildlife to panoramic views.
Point of interest:Belfast Castle, McArts Fort
Nearest town:Antrim Road, Belfast
OS map:Sheet 15 + Belfast Street Finder
Terrain:Steep climb, unsurfaced paths
Route:This is a challenging circular route beginning at Belfast Castle and following the green way marked arrows. It can, however, be joined from Bellevue car park, Upper Hightown Road or Upper Cavehill Road.
Begin at the interpretative panel in the car park just before the entrance to Belfast Castle. Climb up the path on your left until you reach the first junction. Turn right. Follow this path through the woodland, keeping to the left of any of the junctions you come to. This path leads up through the trees, climbing on to a plateau. Stop here to admire the fabulous views over the city and Belfast Lough.
Continuing on, take the next path on your left. This skirts round the Devil’s Punchbowl, passes below the largest cave before veering to the right. Follow this path as it climbs steadily up the hill, pausing to take in the surroundings and views on the way.
Continue climbing up the steps to a cattle grid and fence, at the top veer to the left and follow the grass path to the top of the hill and McArt’s Fort. Pause again to take in the magnificent views before joining the main path on its gradual descent down the south facing slopes of Cave Hill.
Continue downhill taking the next lane on your left. This leads down past the top of Carr’s Glen and carries on for some distance before reaching the Upper Cavehill Road. Go down the footpath a short way and take the path to the left. Climb over the ridge and descend into Belfast Castle Estate. Return to the starting point by means of the footpath up the main driveway.
Facilities:Belfast Castle is open to the public. The Cellar Restaurant offers a variety of menus from morning coffee to full meals. The second floor of the Castle plays host to the Cave Hill Visitor Centre with exciting displays on the history, folklore, wildlife and geology of Cave Hill Country park and the story of Belfast Castle.
Accessible toilet facilities:Yes
Accessible terrain:Steep climb on unsurfaced paths.
Publication:A Walk in the Park, BCC Cave Hill Country Park leaflet.
Belfast City Council Parks + Open Spaces Dept: Tel 028 9032 0202 x 6653 or email email@example.com
. The leaflet is also available to download on this webpage.
Getting to the start by public transport:Metro Services; Belfast Castle and Hazelwood entrance; Metro Services: 1A-1H (Mon-Sat) 1C-1E, 1H (Sun), Carr’s Glen; 12, 61.
Getting to the start by car:Car parking at Belfast Castle, Zoo (Hazelwood), Upper Cavehill Road and Upper Hightown Road.