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Walking 

Causeway Coast Way

The Causeway Coast Way follows a waymarked route along the spectacular north coast of Ulster between Portstewart in the west and Ballycastle in the east (signed in one direction only, from west to east). It passes through the Causeway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a World Heritage Site at the Giant?s Causeway and several Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs).

This 52km (33 miles) route incorporates the Port Path between Portstewart and Portrush, and the Causeway/North Coast footpath, both of which constitute the Ulster Way in this part of the Province.

The route offers opportunity for enjoyment to walkers of varied abilities from those who aim to walk the whole Way to those who prefer to wander along shorter sections.

Car parking is available along the entire route, both in the towns and villages and at specific parking/view points along the coast. The Causeway Coast is accessible by train and bus services (the ?Causeway Rambler? bus service [service 376] operates during the summer months). See below for contact details.

Forest Walks

Christie Park

Placed between Coleraine's two bridges, Christie Park has a welcoming riverside location. The park contains many species of tree and flower, and is very popular with the town's residents who come along to walk, feed the swans or simply to admire the view. The town's "Highway to Health" route passes through the Park.

Walks: -1 miles

Somerset Riverside Park

This parkland is a narrow strip of semi-natural riverside habitat on the west bank of the Lower Bann River , between Sandelford Bridge and the Cutts Weir. The parkland is an extension of Christie Park although there is a marked difference in the appearance and management of both. Walkers have the opportunity to enjoy approx. 2 km (1 miles) of continuous riverside path through the parks between the Old Bridge in the town centre and the Cutts Weir. The option is then open for walkers to cross the road and proceed along forest paths within Somerset Forest.

Garvagh Forest

Walkers have the opportunity to follow a variety of waymarked trails within this forest conveniently located on the western fringe of the village of Garvagh . The walks start from the main Forest Car Park just off Garvagh Main Street.

Castleroe Wood

Situated two miles south of Coleraine on the Curragh Road on the western bank of the Lower Bann River , walkers can enjoy waymarked woodland and riverside walks. Car parking is available.

Springwell Forest

Five miles west of Coleraine on the Dunhill Road . Waymarked walking trails including Ulster Way . Car parking is available.

Cam Forest

Eight miles south west of Coleraine on the Craigmore Road . Waymarked walking opportunities including Ulster Way . Car parking is available.

Kilrea Wood

Within the grounds of Portneal Lodge on the Bann Road on the outskirts of Kilrea. Short riverside walk. Car parking available.

Movanagher Wood

Two miles north of Kilrea on the Movanagher Road . Limited walking opportunities. Very limited car parking available.

Downhill

This landscaped estate was the former home of the Bishop of Derry. It was laid out in the 18th century and includes the remains of Downhill Castle , Mussenden Temple and the Mausoleum. The National Trust now own and manage the property and have created walks within the gardens, the Black Glen and along the cliff tops. All are sign-posted.

Walks: - 2 miles

Downhill Wood

Owned by the Department of Agriculture and Rural development and run by the Forest Service, this wood was once part of the estate of Frederick Hervey, the Bishop of Derry. There are a number of enjoyable walks through the mixed woodland, including part of the Ulster Way . A lake and several streams make for a very pleasant stroll.

Walks: - 2 miles

Exercise Cluster/Somerset Forest

With extensive views across the Bann to the ancient fort at Mountsandel, the Exercise Cluster and Somerset Forest were part of the original Somerset Estate. The mature broadleaf and coniferous woodland now has several walking/jogging trails running through it as well as a fitness cluster near the entrance. The woodland is also home to many species of bird and plant.

Walks: - 2 miles

Mountsandel Forest

A mature mixed woodland overlooking the Bann, Mountsandel Forest contains the oldest known human settlement in Ireland . Dating from Mesolithic times - 7000 years B.C. - the excavation site is found next to the fort. There are panoramic views of the Bann which reflect the earlier importance of this area. The forest walk goes from a high point at the fort down to the banks of the Bann, and passes close to the weir at the Cutts.

Walk: 2 miles (maximum)

Coastal Walks

Castlerock

This small seaside village, located between the Bann and Benone, has many seaside walks. Stroll along the beach to the Barmouth and watch the waters of the Bann mix with the Atlantic , or explore Downhill via the Black Glen. Follow the footsteps of children in days gone past along School Lane and enjoy the many pleasures of this part of the North Coast .

Walk: 1 - 3 miles

Portstewart Strand

Owned and managed by the National Trust, this magnificent beach stretches from Portstewart to the Bann estuary. It is popular for many activities and is backed by an extensive dune system which was inhabited some 5,000 years ago. To protect the dunes but to allow access, the Trust has created a waymarked path from the beach to the Bann. Take this opportunity to watch many birds feeding on the mudflats - part of the Barmouth Nature Reserve.

Walk: 5 miles (maximum)

Portstewart Cliff Path

Starting at the harbour in Portstewart and finishing at the Strand with Downhill and Donegal in the background. The focal point of the walk is the Dominican Convent perched high on the clifftop. Built in 1834 by Henry O'Hara, it was known as Rock Castle and was restored and extended when purchased by the Dominican Order in 1917. Note the bricked-up famine door to the north of this building which is now in use as a grammar school. Other places of interest include the remains of an ice-house at Rock Castle and the well at Tubber Patrick directly above the Strand . This is said to have been the water supply for dune inhabitants in Stone Age times.

Walk: 1 miles

Port Path

Enjoy a refreshing walk from Portrush to Portstewart, and admire magnificent views of the North Coast and beyond. This sweep of coastline was a graveyard for ships in the olden days; the last sail-powered ship was lost here in 1931. Evidence of wrecks and rescues still lingers. Following part of the Ulster Way , and Causeway Coast Way visit the grave of the Unknown Sailor and see where the Hermit of Seaview lived. Care must be taken going past Ballyreagh and Portstewart golf courses.

Walk: 3 miles

West Bay , Portrush

West Bay was recently granted a European Blue Flag premier seaside award reflecting cleanliness and safety of both beach and water. The gentle promenade walk is popular all year round. Enjoy the views of the bustling harbour and the coming and going of the small boats, keeping a watchful eye for cyclists on the Promenade Cycle Path.

Walk: 1mile

White Rocks/ Curran Strand

Backed by an extensive dune system and the famous Royal Portrush golf course, this beach walk stretches from Portrush to the White Rocks. The White Rocks are a famous landmark on the North Coast , the limestone formations containing many fossils from earlier times. The dunes are included in an ongoing conservation programme to safeguard their future.

Walk: 1-2 miles

Portballintrae

A picturesque village situated between the Giant's Causeway and Dunluce Castle , and an ideal base for walking. Follow the shared use footpath/cycle path along the former train line between the Causeway and Bushmills, explore the Runkerry strand and cross the three-quarter footbridge. See the small harbour where the Armada treasures were landed or visit Lissanduff, an ancient water ritual site, high above the village.

Walks: - 5 miles