This well maintained walkway follows a key section of the longer Causeway Coast Way & Ulster Way. Nearly 5 miles in length, this section of coast from Giant’s Causeway to Dunseverick Castle is officially referred to as the North Antrim Cliff Path (& maintained by The National Trust). The spectacular cliff landscape & rich biodiversity of the coast merges effortlessly with the surrounding farmland, where grazing cattle and sheep are common place. And it is this mix of conservation & working farm practices which have created rich mosaics of wild habitats for birds, plants & insects. And the built heritage is note-worthy, with the promontory fort and later stone castle of Dunseverick Castle being an added interest.
Portballintrae Beach is a very popular attraction nearby.
Distance:4.8 (one way) miles
Point of interest:World Heritage Site, Benbane Head, Dunseverick Castle
OS map:Sheet 4
Terrain:Grassy cliff edge paths, stiles
Route:This linear walk can be walked in either direction. We suggest parking at the Giant’s Causeway and taking the Causeway Rambler bus (Translink Service 402) to Dunseverick before walking back towards the Causeway. Alternatively, for those wanting to soak up the views in both directions (please note the 402 Service operates during the Summer months only. For all other tiimes, please use Translink Service 172).
This particular walk begins at Dunseverick Castle carpark and heads off the beaten track to explore some of Ireland’s best coastal views. Dunseverick Castle was once a ‘royal site’ with a history of resident Ulster clans, the great road north from Tarra ending here, raiding Vikings and even St Patrick are all associated with this site.
As you leave the castle ruins, the cliffs gradually fall in height and a section of the path goes through open farmland. This is an organic farm owned by the National Trust, so grazing cows will be a common sight & the walker should respect the livestock & keep all dogs on leads. The walker usually has to give way to County Antrim cattle.
Having walked approximately 1 mile of this trail, you can expect to be uninterrupted with the exception of an occasional back packer or passing peregrine falcon. The rare Chough are also an occasional visitor along this coast, unfortunately declining in recent years and only breeding on Rathlin Island at present.
For the next 2 miles, the walker is greeted with some of the finest cliff scenery in Europe, with attractively named headlands/bays such as: Port Moon (the largest bay where a salmon fishery was once located – look for the old remaining fisherman’s bothy), Portnabrock, Bengore Head, Benbane Head, Hamiliton’s Seat, Plaiskin Head, The King & his nobles and Port na Spaniagh.
Following the North Antrim Cliff Path you will be looking down into ‘The Amphitheatre’ – a spectacular bay, only accessible to nesting fulmars, jackdaws and occasional black guillemots. Below you will soon see a constant flow of visitors to Ireland’s top visited outdoor attraction. Proceed along the cliff top path and at the last headland (Weir’s Snout) – one of the best panoramic views of the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site can be had. From here descend the ‘Shepherds Steps’ (162 to be exact!) to meet the famous stones. Spend time exploring this natural wonder up close before heading back to the car park and visitor centre.
Although you are welcome to walk this walk free of charge guided tours with knowledgable guides are also available direct from Belfast with Away A Wee Walk or through the National Trust at the Giant's Causeway.
Facilities:Toilets, Tea Room and Gift Shop at Giant’s Causeway start point. For more information, please see link below.
No toilets at Dunseverick Castle car park end point. Here there is free car parking, picnic tables, interpretation & a bus stop.
Accessible toilet facilities:Yes
Accessible terrain:Car park & picnic area at Dunseverick Castle disability friendly. The rest of cliff path requires a certain level of physical fitness, due to steep slopes, stiles – up to 400 feet in height.
Publication:Giant’s Causeway Guide Book (cost £4.00).
Publication availability:Giant's Causeway Shop Tel: 028 2073 1855
Getting to the start by public transport:By bus, the Causeway Rambler Service (Ulsterbus No 402) between Bushmills & Carrick-a-Rede runs in summer – important facility if walkers choose not to walk the return leg, as Rambler Service stops at Dunseverick Castle!
Getting to the start by car:Both Giant’s Causeway & Dunseverick are well sign posted c/o the Causeway Coastal Route, both from Bushmills and Ballycastle.