The Lecale district of County Down, made famous in song by Van Morrison, is criss-crossed with a network of roads most of which are nearly traffic free. At 37 miles this route may appear long but it can easily be reduced by taking any one of the many alternative roads. The route meanders through an area abundant in pre-historic and more recent buildings and artefacts. Starting in Downpatrick close to Down Cathedral, you will pass close to the Racecourse and Ballydugan Lake before reaching Loughinisland and historic churches. Re-crossing the A25, you pass close to the mysterious Ballynoe Stone Circles before reaching the coast at Ballyhornan and its golden beach. Following the shoreline north to Kilclief Castle (open to the public) the route turns inland then southwards through the villages of Ballyculter and Ballycruttle before turning towards Downpatrick. Parts of this route are suitable for off-road bikes only.
Public roads: On Public Road
Getting to the start:
From Belfast take the A7 to Downpatrick and follow the signs for Down Cathedral.
From Newcastle take the A2 as far as Clough then take the A25 to Downpatrick and follow signs for Down Cathedral.
From Ballynahinch take the B2 to Downpatrick.
Traffic: Limited traffic on mostly minor roads.
OS map:Sheet 21
Terrain:Public roads and off road paths.
Point of interest:Loughinisland historic churches
Ballynoe stone circle
Facilities:Ample carparking, toilets and refreshments available in Downpatrick. Public toilets available in Ballynornan but opening times vary.
Accessibility information:Mostly minor public roads with some hilly sections.
Accessible toilet facilities:Yes
Publication:Armagh & Down Cycling Guide
Publication availability:Tourist Information Offices in Newcastle and Downpatrick.