Down District Council


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WalkingThe best way to get a real feel for the countryside is on foot. Leave the car behind and explore the most beautiful and unspoiled areas of Down District. Work up an appetite for some fine home cooking and get some healthy exercise while you're at it!

Below are listed some of the many waymarked lowland and coastal walks in Down District. Also available are Forestry and National Trust walks together with routes through the high Mournes. Brochures, route maps and details of these and guided walks and walking Festivals in the area can be obtained from the Visitor Information Centres in Downpatrick on 0 28 4461 2233  and Newcastle on 0 28 4372 2222 or from Countryside Development on 0 28 4461 0800.

Ballylough, Castlewellan

 Approx 2.2 miles, 3.5 kms. Approx 1 hour. Starting point Ballylough Road, Annsborough Village. A stroll alongside water offers a tranquil outdoor experience to the walker. 

Burrenreagh, Castlewellan

Approx 5.8 miles, 10 kms. Approx 2.5 hours. Starting point Lower Square, Castlewellan. For outstanding views of Castlewellan, the surrounding countryside and the Irish Sea.

Drumee, Castlewellan

Approx 5.8 miles, 10 kms. Approx 2.5 hours. Starting point Car Park, Upper square, Castlewellan. This network of paths formed part of an intricate transport system connecting the settlements of Castlewellan, Annsborough, Maghera, Dundrum, Byansford and Newcastle. 

The Granite Trail - Newcastle

In 1824 John Lynn opened a quarry on Millstone Mountain and laid a mineral railway line to King Street. By 1859 the railway was diverted to the more productive quarry on Thomas’s Mountain and the Granite Trail follows the route of this funicular (cable) railway, known locally as the Bogie Line. Along the route of the Trail there are stunning views out over Newcastle Town and harbour and a diversity of natural habitats. There are also artefacts en route along with information panels explaining more about the route. The Granite Trail to Thomas’s Mountain is just over 1100 metres long but because of the steep rise you should allow approximately 1 1⁄2 hours to complete this stage. An optional return route is available via Donard Wood and Glen River Track. 


Approx 3.1 miles, 5kms. Approx 1 1/2 hours. Starting point car park, opposite Kilclief Castle. The walk begins at the castle, built before 1440, the earliest known tower house in County Down. 


Approx 4 miles, 6.4 kms. Approx 2 1⁄2 hours. Starting point Scordin Car Park and picnic site. This walk follows a beautiful stretch of County Down coast, from Killough village to St John’s Point Lighthouse.

Lecale Way

The Lecale Way follows the footsteps of Saint Patrick from his landing place on the shores of Strangford Lough near Raholp, around the coastline to Newcastle within the Lecale area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Distance: 65km/40 miles
Time: 2-3 days
Maps: Ordnance Survey Discovery Series (1;50,000) Sheets 21 & 29
Starting Point: Raholp
Finishing Point: Newcastle

For Lecale Way Brochure, contact the Downpatrick or Newcastle Visitor Information Centres, or check the Walk NI website for further information. 

Newcastle Challenge Trail

A 44km waymarked long-distance walking route through the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Within this small geographical area there are a wealth of different landscapes to explore, with views out over the Irish Sea and across the Mourne Mountains. You can undertake this route as a `challenge walk' in one day, but don't feel you have to - the five sections can be easily enjoyed over a number of days. 

The Quoile River - Jane's Shore

Approx 2.2 miles, 3.5 kms. Approx 1 hour. Starting point Lay by/ picnic site on the Quoile Road. Taking a walk along this route today, it is difficult to imagine that before 1957 the Quoile was tidal.

Outdoor Ireland North

 Qualified Mountain Leader, who takes guided walks, hikes and cycles in the Mourne Mountains, Causeway Coast & Glens and Carlingford Mountains. Guided walks pick-up point is at Donard Park, Newcastle. 

St Patrick's Way

This area is steeped in history and was the home of the early Christian Church in Ireland founded by St Patrick when he landed at the mouth of the River Slaney near Raholp. 


Approx 6 milies, 10kms. Approx 3 hours. Starting point car park on Killard Road, Ballyhornan. This path runs along the Irish Sea coast from Ballyhornan to Ardtole, near Ardglass and forming part of the Ulster Way. 

Walks in the Mournes

Guided walks to suit individuals or groups (including Corporate groups), all year round. Learn how to navigate in the Mourne Mountains. 

The Mourne Way

Approx 26 miles. This route is almost entirely off road, traversing the foothill of the Mourne Mountains from Newcastle on the Irish Sea to Rostrevor on Carlingford Lough. The Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a unique, largely granite landscape shaped by ice and man, with stunning vistas of coast, sea and countryside.

Guided Walks

Guided Walks around the Mournes, Strangford Lough and Newcastle. Walks All Year Round. For full programme and details visit or contact Northern Walking on 077 07994600. Various Locations.

Outdoor Ireland North  
Loretto Coyle MLC,
14 Shimnavale, Newcastle
BT33 0EF                              
T 028 4372 5191                      
M 0797 3408 056                      

Qualified Mountain Leader and Blue Badge Tourist Guide, who takes guided walks, hikes in the Mourne Mountains and the countryside of County Down. Easy to moderate family walks, easy to challenging hikes for individuals and groups and navigation training. Available All year. Based in Newcastle. Guided walks meeting point at Donard car park, Newcastle

Treasure Trails                                             

Treasure trails provides walking and driving experiences across Armagh and Down, the aim of which is to get people out and about exploring, learning and having fun. Trailers complete a walking Murder Mystery Trail, walking Mystery Treasure Hunt or driving Spy Trail in their own time and at their own pace, following our directions around the historic and scenic sights of the location. Each Trail has clues to solve and the answer to each clue is a name that you have to find on a plaque, monuments, war memorial, church etc. Once Trailers have found the name that person is innocent and can be eliminated from the list of suspects. Once the Trail has been completed, Trailers can enter the correct answer online for a chance to win a cash prize. Each trail costs £5.00. 


Downpatrick Visitor Information
The Saint Patrick Centre,
53a Market Street
BT30 6LZ
T 028 4461 2233
F 028 4461 2350


Countryside Development
Downshire Civic Centre,
Downshire Estate,
Ardglass Road,
Downpatrick, BT30 6GQ
T: 0 28 4461 0800
F: 0 28 4461 0801

Mourne Heritage Trust
10 - 14 Central Promenade,
Newcastle, BT33 0AA
T: 0 28 4372 6493
F: 0 28 4372 6493

Outdoor Ireland North
Loretto Coyle MLC
14 Shimnavale
T: 0 28 4372 5191
M: 07973 408056

Newcastle Visitor Information
10-14 Central Promenade,
BT33 0AA
T 028 4372 2222
F 028 4372 2400