Down District Council


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Cycling in Down DistrictDown District offers plenty of opportunity for cycling. The Mourne & Slieve Croob Cycle Routes pass through countryside ranging from beaches and bays to the majestic Mourne Mountains and hidden treasures of Slieve Croob, from a bustling fishing harbour to a beautiful hillside village, past castles, early Christian and ancient stone monuments. The Newcastle/Lough Island Reavy Route is a long circular route with some steep climbs, leading through spectacular scenery. There are also smaller cycling paths and routes, and a new route is currently developed by Sustrans.

For more information about cycling routes, please view the Mourne Heritage Trust website.

Cycle Hire Shops

Clearsky Adventure Centre
National Trust Castle Ward
The Old Farmyard
Co Down
BT30 7LS

LIFE Adventure Mountain Bike Rental

Life HQ, The Grange Yard, Castlewellan Forest Park, Castlewellan, BT31 9BU

T: 028 4377 0714


Our Mountain Bike Rental options range from 2 hrs upwards and include everything needed to get you started either on the NEW Castlewellan MTB trails or further a field on the NI MTB trails in Rostrevor, Castleward, Davagh or Fivemiletown or many of the Irish MTB trails. All of our equipment is top of the range, renewed regularly and maintained to the highest standard to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience.  Each Bike (GT Timberline range) comes with a Helmet and Gloves as standard. Our range of bikes are ideal for everything from Forest trails and Bridleways to purpose built cross country MTB trails - if in doubt please call/email to check suitability on.

Mourne Cycle Tours                                                         
79 Tullyree Road
BT34 5LD                                                                           
T 028 4372 4348
M 075 4731 3053                                                                   
F 028 4372 4148                                                                   
Mourne Cycle Tours have a range of Mountain and Road bikes that can be delivered to your holiday accommodation or we provide a number of guided or self-guided tours in the Mournes area such as Dolmens and Cashels. During the summer we offer 'Downhill All the Way' were we meet you at the highest road point in the Mournes and you can cycle leisurely back to Newcastle.

Newcatle & Castlewellan Bike Hire
Wide range of bikes available for hire - mountain bikes, electic e-bikes, tandem bicycles, kids bicycles - you name it we should have it!

FREE delivery and shuttle bus service also available.

Do your own thing OR enjoy one of our local cycle trails:

  • Spelga Dam Downhill Tour
  • Mourne Foods Cycle Tour
  • Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails

T: 028 4372 3933 

Ross Cycles                                                                      
44 Clarkhill Road
BT31 9BL                                                                            
T 028 4377 8029
We offer a wide range of cycles. We re-new these cycles every 4-6months to make sure that up to date cycles make this activity Enjoyable and safe. Every bike is serviced after every individual hire. We also include helmet hire and insurance is included. We can offer collection and pick up services for both a small or large group. We are located beside Castlewellan Forest Park which provides a great location for both enjoyable and safe cycling.  located just outside Castlewellan, signs on the A25 direct drivers 1.5 miles along the Clarkhill Road

Guided Cycling

 Iron Donkey Bicycle Tours
Norman Trotter, 15 Ballyknockan Road,
Saintfield, BT24 7HQ
T: 028 9081 4708

Iron Donkey Bicycle Touring offers wonderful bicycle tours in the Mournes, St Patrick’s Country and the Ards Peninsula. Our self-guided itineraries offer the greatest degree of flexibility with regard to start date, duration of tour, level of support and type of accommodation. Guided supported tours are all inclusive packages for those who prefer to tour with others in the company of knowledgeable local guides. There are scheduled departures and most itineraries are for one week. Custom tours can be designed for clubs and organisations, for groups of professional colleagues, for families or for groups of friends. The group can be large or small – we will be happy to talk to you, with no obligation on your part, about custom tour for any number of people. 

Outdoor Ireland North
Loretto Coyle MLC,
14 Shimnavale, Newcastle,
BT33 0EF     
T: 079 7640 8056

Loretto is a qualified Blue Badge Tourist Guide who takes guided Bicycle Day Tours in the Mournes, St Patrick's Country and Ards Peninsula. Cycling tours range from easy to challenging. Heritage tours visit places of historical interest. Half day or full day rides available from March – October. Based in Newcastle. Meeting point arranged for different cycle tours. 

Rock and Ride Outdoors
9a Tullyree Rd, Kilcoo, Down, BT345JP
T: 07803132381

Rock and Ride Outdoors are an exciting new company offering mountain biking experiences for people of all abilities. Whether you want an introduction to the most exciting sport around, to improve your skills with expert coaches or attain the qualifications to become a qualified mountain bike leader yourself, Rock and Ride Outdoors can provide it all with a big slice of fun. Be guided and coached by Ireland's most qualified mountain bike tutor on some truly world class trails from the most sedate to the truly extreme and come back smiling and inspired for more'.

Cycle Routes

Mourne Foods Cycle Trail
98 Bryansford Road

BT33 0LF

T: 028 4372 2392
F: 028 4372 4084

 The Mourne Foods Cycle Trail is Northern Ireland's first food tour by bike. It has been devised by the Enniskeen Country House hotel, in association with local food producers, to showcase the wonderful artisan food in the area and offer visitors an active way to explore a food trail.

The Trail offers visitors a self-guided tour by bicycle, with gentle cycling either downhill or on flat ground. Electric bikes are available too, so there are definitely no excuses! The routes are a mix of quiet rural roads and off road trails, so they are suitable for couples and small groups of friends looking for a novel way to spend a day or half day exploring.

Members of the Mourne Foods Cycle Trail include: Abernethy Butter Company, Murlough Farm free range eggs, Mourne Honey, Dundrum Bay Mussel and Osyter fishery, Pattersons Mourne Lamb Farm, Grahams Ice Cream, Cookie Jar bakery, Enniskeen Country House hotel and Newcastle Bike Hire Company.

With the Mourne Mountains as its backdrop, the Mourne Foods Cycle Trail pairs up gentle cycling, stunning scenery and simply delicious food! Visitors cycling the trail will get to visit local producers along the route and purchase some of their tasty foods as well as choose to stop off at some of the great local eateries. Cycle routes can be tailored to suit various fitness levels.

The cost to take part in the trail is £28 per person which includes hire of a quality bike with small pannier compartment for carrying foods, trail pack, and a complimentary shuttle bus service.

The Mourne Foods Cycle Trail is open daily from mid May 2013 and advance booking is essential.

Castle Ward
Co Down                                                                                                          

Gradient: Easy with some hills                                           

Bring your bikes to Castleward and you’ll discover even more than the fabulous Victorian house – your wheels can take you down to the jetty past the boathouse, along the shores of Strangford Lough, to Audley’s Castle and much much more. So come explore!

Castlewellan Forest Park Family Cycling Trail
Co Down                                                                         

Distance: 3.8 Km                                                              
Gradient: Easy                                                                 

The route is a circular route which surrounds Castlewellan Lake. The trail starts and finishes in the main car park and is suitable for cyclists with basic off road cycling skills. The forest also has some points of interest, which include the ice house, various sculptures along the trail and the Autumn Wood. Located in a setting of mountains and sea, this is one of the most outstanding tree and shrub collections.                                                                                                       
From Newcastle take A50 to Castlewellan. At roundabout turn right to top of hill, turn left following signpost into forest park.
Admission applicable into Forest Park:
Car: £4, Minibus: £10, Coach: £25, Motorcycle: £2,
Annual Permits – Car: £35, over 60’s concessionary rate £17.50, Minibus: £70. (Prices Subject to review)

Dundrum Coastal Path  
Distance: 1.5 miles/ 2.4 Km                                                  
Gradient: Easy                                                                     

This short, entirely traffic-free coastal path is simply breathtaking! You follow the path of the former GNR railway line, hugging the shoreline and getting close to the many wading birds, which frequent Dundrum Bay. Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s ship the Great Britain famously grounded here in 1846 during a transatlantic voyage. In early summer the path is a riot of colour when the yellow Whin blossom is at its finest, whilst the Mourne Mountains provide a spectacular backdrop as they sweep majestically down to the sea at nearby Newcastle.                                                 

Open: All year


Distance: 37 Miles                                                                
OSNI: Sheet 21

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 37miles this route may appear long but it can be easily reduced by taking any one of the many alternative roads. This route meanders through an area abundant in pre-historic and more recent buildings and artefacts. Starting in Downpatrick close to the 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 the route turns inland then southwards through the villages of Ballyculter and Ballycruttle before turning towards Downpatrick. 

12 Miles                                                                
OSNI: Sheet 29                                                                   

The Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea close to the Start and finish point of this short 12 mile loop from Newcastle. The Mountains are always in view as you wind your way along this almost flat route with the sea never far away. Leaving Newcastle by Donard Park your route takes you towards Tollymore Forest Park where you can leave your bike and take a stroll through the arboretum before continuing along the Barbican Road. You continue past Maghera Old Church, with buildings dating back to the 10th Century, to Maghera and shortly you pass by a huge standing stone by the roadside just a short distance from the Slidderyford Dolmen (no public access) in a field to the left. The route continues to Dundrum, with its Castle overlooking the bay, then turns towards Newcastle, past Murlough Nature Reserve and onto a shared use footway into the town, before turning left towards the eastern end of the promenade with its many new art pieces. 

The Newcastle/Lough Island Reavy Route
: 25 miles (40Km)                                                 
: A long cycle, with steep sections                              

Starting in Newcastle 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. Exciting at the entrance to Tollymore Forest Park, turn right onto the Bryansford Road. At the next T-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, where you pass the start of the Trassey Track, 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 ahead of you. At the end of this road turn right and after 300 yards, take the first left onto Bog Road. Lough Island 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 right onto the Lacken Road. After ½ mile the route takes you along the edge of the Lough Island Reavy Reservoir on your right. At the end of the reservoir turn left into Largy Road. 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 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 100yards turns right into the Drumbuck Road. This 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 Dundrine Road and follow this road downhill towards Newcastle. This is a steep section so please check your brakes. At the next crossroads follow this road across into Corrigs Road. After 200yards 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.

The Slieve Croob Route

Approximately 25 miles (40Km)
A long cycle with steep sections.

From the town of Castlewellan follow the A25 towards Clough. Take the first road on the left onto the Drumbuck Road. This road takes you along the edge of Castlewellan Forest Park. Continue along the Drumbuck Road for approximately 1 1/4miles until you come to the T-Junction where you turn left into the Clarkhill Road. Continue downhill passing Rosses Cycles on your left. At the next crossroads go straight ahead into the Ribadoo Road. After approx. ½ mile turn right into the Ardglass Road. After approx. 1 mile the route veers to the right onto the Macinish Road up to the T-junction. Turn right into Clonvaraghan Road, where you pass the Slieve Croob Inn on your left. Refreshments and lunch are available here. After the Slieve Croob Inn turn left into Slievenisky Road and continue along this road until the T-junction where you turn left into the Ballywillwill Road, Slieve Croob is visible on your left. At the next T-junction, turn left into the Drumnaquoile Road, keeping Slieve Croob on your left. Continue along the road where you will pass the entrance to Drumkeeragh Forest to your right, turn right into Drumboy Road. At the end of the Drumboy Road, turn right into the Drumkeeragh Road. After approx. 4miles turn right into Cauleys Pipe Road. Continue along this road and straight ahead at the next crossroads with Drumnaquoile Road. At the next T-Junction turn left into Ballywillwill Road and then right into Ballylough Road. Take the second road to the left into Aughlisnafin Road. Follow this road to the end where it joins the main A25 Castlewellan Road to Clough Road. Caution is advised at this point. Turn right onto the Castlewellan Road, then immediately left into Kilmegan historic Church on your right. Towards the bottom of Kilmegan Road turn right into Old Road. Continue along this road with Dundrum Inner Bay on your left. The route continues to the right onto Flush Road. However, you may wish to continue on a short distance and visit Murlough National Nature Reserve before continuing. On joining Flush Road, spectacular views of the Mourne Mountains open up. You pass Slidderyford Standing Stone adjacent to the road on your right. At the end of this road turn left towards the small village of Maghera. Follow the road through the village towards Bryansford passing Newcastle Riding Centre. Turn right at the next crossroads into Dundrine Road, back to Castlewellan, finishing not far from where you started. This is a steep uphill section and you may wish to consider dismounting at this point.
More Cycle Route cards are available from Newcastle Visitor Information Centre on
028 4372 2222 or Mourne Heritage Trust on 028 4372 4059.


Downpatrick Visitor Information
The Saint Patrick Centre,
53a Market Street
Downpatrick, BT30 6LZ
T 0 28 4461 2233
F 0 28 4461 2350

Newcastle Visitor Information Centre
10-14 Central Promenade,
Newcastle, BT33 0AA
T 0 28 4372 2222
F 0 28 4372 2400


Cycle Northern Ireland                                                    

028 9030 6940




084 5113 0065


Recreation NI
028 9030 3930                                                                                                                                               


Mountain Bike Trails NI