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WALKING in NI

Walking Highlights

Northern Ireland offers a vast array of unspoilt and untouched walking routes and trails. This page will give an overview of the most popular walking trails for the serious rambler and family friendly routes for those looking for a short stroll.

Cave Hill is a familiar outline visible from many parts of Belfast City, and has become ingrained into the city's social history and culture, making it one of the most celebrated landmarks of Belfast.

Carnmoney Hill - is one of the greatest landmarks within the Borough of Newtownabbey.  Carnmoney takes its name from Cairn Monadh 'the cairn on the boggy mountain', a burial chamber that originally stood on the summit of Carnmoney Hill.

Divis and the Black Mountain rest in the heart of the Belfast Hills which provide the backdrop to the city's skyline.  The mountains comprise a mosaic of grassland, heath and bog and are home to a host of wildlife and archaeological remains.

Banagher Glen - An idyllic forest valley surrounded by the peaceful uplands and boglands of the Sperrins. The circular 9-mile route ( 4- 5 hours) takes you through forests to the summit of Altnaheglish Hill, past a reservoir and along mountain rivers.

Lagan Canal Towpath - An attractive gentle 1.5-mile trail along the old Canal Towpath, from Craigavon towards Lough Neagh. The linear route is deal for families and cyclists. Highlights include historic bridges and the nearby Montiaghs Moss area, an important peat habitat where traditional life involves fishing on the Lough and willow basket making. Ideal for birdwatchers.

Blue Lough - A breathtaking introduction to the mountains of Mourne, with incredible views of Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland's highest mountain. The 8 mile walk (2.5 hours) begins in open heathland, past small streams and Blue Lough to a fabulous viewpoint between the two granite peaks of Slieve Lamagan and Slieve Binnian, offering vistas of Ben Crom Dam and Mountain.

A Mourne Mountain Walk - A more challenging trek into the Mournes. 12 miles, or a minimum of 6 hours. Starting at Newcastle, the route travels between the peaks of Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh, along the Trassy River and back through Tollymore Forest. Highlights include the great Mourne Wall built a century ago to enclose the catchment area of the Silent Valley Dam.(The wall is a good guide to the summit of Slieve Donard.) Also, the Castle rock towers and the Diamond Rocks.

Slieve Croob - A 6.5-mile (11km) walk taking in Slieve Croob (the Twelve Cairns) area of the Dromara Hills in County Down. The waymarked road takes you to the summit where you can enjoy spectacular views of the Down countryside and Mourne Mountains.

Causeway Hill - Located in the far west, this circular trail through peaceful Tyrone countryside offers incredible views of the Fermanagh Lakelands and Donegal. Highlights along the 11 mile (18km route) include the runs of an 11th century church, the Mass Rock at Mellows Glen, the Black Gap and Causeway Hill offering extensive views, St. Patrick's Holy Well.

Florence Court and Cuilcagh Mountain - Begin at Florence Court Forest and hike through woodlands, past the ancient burial cairns of Myalla, along leafy tracks edged in orchids, iris and ferns, skirting tiny fields hedged in thorn and briar, then onward, if weather and stamina permit, to the summit of Cuilcagh. Distance 7 miles or 11km, but the 3-hour walk will take longer if you climb the 655m peak (waymarked by yellow posts). Boots and warm clothing advised if you tackle the summit. Side visits to nearby Marble Arch Caves and the National Trust Museum at Florence Court are recommended.

Just Some Ideas

Newcastle Way,

A circular route taking in the diverse scenery of Co Down

Tollymore Forest Park - Mountain & Drinns Trail,

A pleasant walk through both conifer and broadleaved woodland passing the Shimna River, duckponds and several points of historical interest. The Drinns Trail is an optional loop for those wishing to have a greater challenge.

Castlewellan Forest Park, Slievenaslaat Trail,

As the black trail enters the mainly coniferous plantation, the remnants of the Moorish Tower can be viewed. There are openings in the forest with impressive vistas of the farmland on and around Slievenaboley, Legananny Mountains and Slieve Croob.

Croaghan Breen Forest Walk,

A self-guided waymarked trail requiring sturdy waterproof boots as parts are across boggy land. The route consists of open hillside, marshy upland and forest tracks with fine views.

The Milibern,

A self-guided waymarked trail requiring sturdy waterproof boots. The route consists of open hillside, marshy upland and forest tracks with fine views.

Moyle Way,

Taking the walker through a magnificent land of geology, wildlife, history and folklore, this route passes a wealth of rivers, ancient monuments and exposed hill summits before reaching its end in the beautiful Glenariff Forest Park.

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