Starting in Newcastle, overlooking Newcastle Beach, follow the A50 towards Castlewellan from the northern part of the town centre. After 1.2 miles turn left into the Tollymore Road and then right into the Middle Tollymore Road. Exiting at the entrance to Tollymore Forest Park turn right onto the Bryansford Road. At the next junction turn left onto the Hilltown Road. Passing through the village of Bryansford the route leads you along the edge of Tollymore Forest Park and past the Tollymore Mountain Centre on your left. After 2.3 miles turn left into Trassey Road, one of the main routes through the high Mourne Mountains. Continue along this road until you reach the crossroads. Go straight through the crossroads onto the Moyad Road. Here views of Slieve Croob open up immediately in front of you. At the end of this road turn right and after 300 yards, take the first left into Bog Road. Lough Island Reavy Reservoir will now be visible on your left.
At the crossroads turn left into the Tullyree Road towards the village of Kilcoo. At the village turn right into the main Dublin Road and take an immediate left onto the Ballymoney Road, past Kilcoo Graveyard. At the next T-junction turn right into Letalion Road and then next right onto Lacken Road. After 0.5 mile the route takes you along the edge of Lough Island Reavy Reservoir on your right. At the end of the reservoir turn left into Largy Road. Passing Slievenalargy Rare Breeds Open Farm on your left, continue to the end of this road and turn left into Altnadue Road. Continue along this road for approximately 1 mile and go straight ahead at the crossroads into the Ballymagreehan Road. At the next T-junction turn right. THIS IS A STEEP PART OF THE ROUTE FOR SEVERAL HUNDRED YARDS AND YOU MAY WISH TO CONSIDER DISMOUNTING. At the top of the hill turn left onto the Leitrim Road. Ahead are views of Slieve Croob and the village of Leitrim in the valley. Follow the roads downhill towards the village of Leitrim. The route turns right into Ballymaginty Road. However, for refreshments and tourist information you may wish to continue a few hundred yards into the village of Leitrim.
On joining the Ballymaginty Road, Castlewellan Forest Park is visible directly ahead of you to the right. At the next T-junction turn right into the Clarkhill Road and after several hundred yards, turn right again into the Old Road. THIS AGAIN IS A STEEP UPWARD SECTION OF THE ROUTE FOR SEVERAL HUNDRED YARDS AND YOU MAY WISH TO CONSIDER DISMOUNTING. At the top of the hill you are afforded spectacular views of the Mourne Mountains and Dundrum Bay with the town of Newcastle in the distance. At the end of this road turn left and after 100 yards turn right into the Drumbuck Road. The route now runs along the edge of Castlewellan Forest Park to your right. At the end of this road turn right into the main Dublin Road. CAUTION IS ADVISED HERE.
The route now turns left into Station Road, however you may wish to continue for several hundred yards into Castlewellan where shops and refreshments are available. On joining Station Road, turn right after 100 yards into Dundrinne Road and follow this road downhill towards Newcastle. THIS IS A STEEP DOWNHILL SECTION SO PLEASE CHECKYOUR BRAKES. At the next crossroads follow this road across into Corrigs Road. After 200 yards you pass the entrance to Maghera Church and Round Tower, an ancient monument, on your left. Continue to the end of Corrigs Road where it joins the main A50 Newcastle to Castlewellan Road adjacent to the Burrendale Hotel and Country Club. Turn left here and follow the road back to your start point in Newcastle.
Public roads: On Public Road
Getting to the start:
NCN number N/A
From Newry take the
Traffic: The cyclist will encounter reasonably heavy traffic entering and leaving Newcastle and Castlewellan and limited traffic on minor public roads.
OS map:OS Sheet 29
Terrain:All public roads.
Point of interest:Tollymore Forest Park
Maghera Village, Old Church and Round Tower
Facilities:In Newcastle public toilet facilities in Newcastle Centre and Donard Park. In Castlewellan, toilet facilities available in Castlewellan Forest Park and Castlewellan.
Accessibility information:Terrain on this route is all on smooth public roads but the route has steep sections which may require dismounting.
Accessible toilet facilities:Yes
Publication:Mourne and Slieve Croob Cycle Routes
Publication availability:Leaflet available at Tourist Information Centres in Downpatrick, Corncrane Centre,Castlewellan and Newcastle.