Mourne Mountain Walk

Mourne Mountain Walk

Visit the Mourne Mountains Website

Visit Strangford Lough

Adres

Newcastle Visitor Information Centre 10-14 Central Promenade, Newcastle, County Down,
 (028) 4372 2222
newcastle.vic@downdc.gov.uk

The Glen River walk is a popular approach to the Mournes.

This walk starts at the Donard carpark, Newcastle.

Note the clear unpeaty water of the Glen River, striking rock strata and fine trees. The wood fades away and a granite gravel path runs almost to the great Mourne Wall, built 1904-22 to enclose the catchment area of the Silent Valley which was dammed in the 1920’s.

Look back down the glen to the elegant sweep of the bay. From here to the wall provides a perfect if steep guide to the summit of Slieve Donard, Ulster’s highest peak – not to be missed if the weather is good. Brandy Pad is an old smuggler’s trail. Passing below The Castles (rock towers) look south where isolated granite towers (tors) stand here and there on the ridges. They seem almost man-made. You might be side tracked up 400 ft (120m) to inspect the Diamond Rocks.

Beyond the Hare’s Gap it’s a long tramp along Trassey River. Examine the sheep pens, where strays were probably kept after the hill had been gathered and the sheep sorted out according to their fleece-marks. Now you pass gorse banks, then Ulster Way signs and stiles, hazel coppice, young fir plantation and a fully grown wood of Douglas firs.

Just before Parnell’s Bridge the Ulster Way goes south but you stay with the river bank. Do not cross the bridge but go straight down to the small lake, passing Curraghard viewpoint on your return to the carpark.

Struell Wells

Struell Wells

Downpatrick

Struell Wells was built around a stream flowing through a secluded valley. It was a popular place of pilgrimage from the 1600s until the 1840s.

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Grey Abbey

Grey Abbey

Greyabbey, Newtownards

Grey Abbey, a Cistercian Abbey church and its living quarters were founded in 1193 by Affreca wife of John de Courcy, the Anglo-Norman invader of East Ulster.

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Nendrum Monastic Site

Nendrum Monastic Site

Comber, Newtownards

Nendrum is thought to have been set up by St Machaoi in the 5th Century and also has links to St Patrick in later sources. The monastery consists of 3 round dry stone walled enclosures, one within the other.

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Slans Graveyard

Slans Graveyard

Portaferry

Within it are the ruins of a medieval church which is believed to be the Church of Ardmacossce or Ardmacaisse, mentioned in the Taxation of Pope Nicholas, 1306, along with an unusual cross-carved boulder.

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Movilla Abbey

Movilla Abbey

Newtownards

Movilla Abbey, Methodist and Church of Ireland.As important as Bangor, Movilla was associated with Saint Finian of the 6th-century. As with many early monasteries, it was refounded as an Augustinian abbey in the Norman 12th century.

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Inch Abbey

Inch Abbey

Downpatrick

Located on the north bank of the Quoile River, Inch Abbey was founded by John de Courcy in atonement for his destruction of Erenagah Abbey.

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The Priory

The Priory

Newtownards

At the south east edge of Newtownards these substantial remains of a Dominican (Black) Friary founded in 1244 may be viewed. They are the only ones of their type in Northern Ireland.

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The Market Cross

The Market Cross

Newtownards

At the east of High Street in Newtownards the Market Cross was built in 1636 but was destroyed by Commonwealth troops in 1653.

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Raholp Church

Raholp Church

Downpatrick

Restored ruins of a sixth century church of St. Tassach, said to have given the last rites to St. Patrick. Entrance through pillars.

St Mary’s Comber

Comber, Newtownards

St Mary’s Parish Church stands on the site of a Cistercian Abbey built in 1199. It was of similar size and architecture to the one in Greyabbey and survived until 1543 when it was closed by order of Henry VIII. The present church dates from 1840.

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Struell Wells

Struell Wells

Downpatrick

Struell Wells was built around a stream flowing through a secluded valley. It was a popular place of pilgrimage from the 1600s until the 1840s.

Learn More

Ballycopeland Windmill

Ballycopeland Windmill

Millisle, Newtownards

Late 18th-century tower mill in use until 1915 and still in working order. Take a virtual tour and discover this unique building.

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Mahee Castle

Mahee Castle

Comber, Newtownards

This ruined Tower House commands a position at the north end of Mahee Island in Strangford Lough. The house was built in 1570 by an English soldier called Captain Browne. Today, it is badly ruined but still of considerable interest.

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Annadorn Dolmen

Annadorn Dolmen

Downpatrick

Situated 8.8km south east of Ballynahinch, on the north east shore of Loughinisland Lake, within sight of Loughinisland Church. A slightly displaced capstone covers a rectangular chamber of which three side stones survive.

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Scrabo Tower

Scrabo Tower

Newtownards

Scrabo Country Park is centred at the top of Scrabo Hill near Newtownards and boasts incredible views over Strangford Lough and the surrounding countryside.

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Rollo Gillespie Monument

Rollo Gillespie Monument

Comber, Newtownards

Situated in The Square in Comber, it was erected in 1845 to commemorate the bravery of Major General Robert ‘Rollo’ Gillespie born in the town in 1766. A list of his battles can be found on the sides of the pillar.

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Sketrick Castle

Sketrick Castle

Killinchy, Newtownards

Sketrick Castle is located on Sketrick Island which is reached by a causeway on the west coast of Strangford Lough. This large tower house was built in the mid 15th century and was actively involved in warfare during the 16th century.

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The Priory

The Priory

Newtownards

At the south east edge of Newtownards these substantial remains of a Dominican (Black) Friary founded in 1244 may be viewed. They are the only ones of their type in Northern Ireland.

Learn More

Grey Abbey

Grey Abbey

Greyabbey, Newtownards

Grey Abbey, a Cistercian Abbey church and its living quarters were founded in 1193 by Affreca wife of John de Courcy, the Anglo-Norman invader of East Ulster.

Learn More

Nendrum Monastic Site

Nendrum Monastic Site

Comber, Newtownards

Nendrum is thought to have been set up by St Machaoi in the 5th Century and also has links to St Patrick in later sources. The monastery consists of 3 round dry stone walled enclosures, one within the other.

Learn More

The White House Ballyspurge

The White House Ballyspurge

Portaferry

On the coast, two thirds of a mile south east of Cloughey village. This house appears to have been built about 1634 by Roland Savage, a cadet of the Ardkeen family.

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Kearney Village

Kearney Village

Strangford, Portaferry, Downpatrick

Owned by the National Trust, it is a picturesque 18th century fishing village with scenic coastal walks. There is an abundance of wildlife to be seen. A small visitor centre is open from dawn to dusk, as are the public toilets and car park.

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Movilla Abbey

Movilla Abbey

Newtownards

Movilla Abbey, Methodist and Church of Ireland.As important as Bangor, Movilla was associated with Saint Finian of the 6th-century. As with many early monasteries, it was refounded as an Augustinian abbey in the Norman 12th century.

Learn More

Inch Abbey

Inch Abbey

Downpatrick

Located on the north bank of the Quoile River, Inch Abbey was founded by John de Courcy in atonement for his destruction of Erenagah Abbey.

Learn More

Portaferry Castle

Portaferry Castle

Portaferry

Portaferry Castle is a 16th Century tower-house, built by the Savage family. It is located on the slope overlooking Portaferry harbour.

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Kirkistown Castle

Kirkistown Castle

Cloughey, Portaferry

Traditionally believed to have been built by Roland Savage of Ballygalget in 1622, possibly reusing an earlier site.

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Audley’s Castle

Strangford, Downpatrick

The castle dates probably from around the 15th century, but the early history is unknown. This site was used for filming a scene for Game of Thrones.

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Strangford Lough and its surrounding hills, beaches, towns and villages are rich in culture, heritage and biodiversity.  Help preserve this stunning region and respect the natural environment by following our handy hints on Leave No Trace.

Above all else, be safe and enjoy!

Leave no Trace Principles

1 – Plan Ahead and Prepare

Before you go check, where possible, if access is allowed and your activity is permitted in the area you wish to visit.

Respect any signs, regulations, policies and special concerns for the area that you wish to visit. Permits may sometimes be needed for activities on public lands.

Where possible travel by public transport or share cars; consider the availability of parking.

Ensure you have the skills and equipment needed for your activity and to cope with emergencies that could arise.

Check the weather forecast and always be prepared for changing weather conditions.

For environmental and safety reasons, and to minimise your impact on other users, keep group numbers small; split larger parties into smaller groups.

2 – Be Considerate of Others

Respect the people who live and work in the countryside.

Park appropriately – avoid blocking gateways, forest entrances or narrow roads.

Remember that farm machinery, local residents and the emergency services may need access at all times.

Take care not to damage property, especially walls, fences and crops.

Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.

Let nature’s sounds prevail. Keep noise to a minimum.

3 – Respect Farm Animals & Wildlife

Dogs should be kept under close control and should only be brought onto hills or farmland with the landowner’s permission.

Some public areas stipulate that dogs must be kept on a lead at all times, please adhere to local guidelines.

Observe wild animals and birds from a distance. Avoid disturbing them, particularly at sensitive times: mating, nesting and raising young (mostly between spring and early summer).

Keep wildlife wild, don’t feed wild animals or birds – our foods damage their health and leave them vulnerable to predators.

Farm animals are not pets; remain at a safe distance.

4 – Travel and Camp on Durable Ground

Durable ground includes established tracks and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.

In popular areas:

  • Concentrate use on existing tracks and campsites.
  • To avoid further erosion, travel in single file in the middle of the track even when wet or muddy.

In more remote areas:

  • Disperse use to prevent the creation of new tracks and campsites.
  • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning to show.

If camping: Protect water quality by camping at least 30 metres from lakes and streams.

  • Keep campsites small and discreet.
  • Aim to leave your campsite as you found it, or better.

5 – Leave What You Find

Respect property – e.g. farming or forestry, machinery, fences, stone walls etc. Leave gates as you find them (open or closed).

Preserve the past:

  • Fallen trees are a valuable wildlife habitat; do not remove or use for firewood.
  • Examine – without damaging – archaeological structures, old walls and heritage artefacts e.g. holy wells, mine workings, monuments.
  • Leave rocks, flowers, plants, animals and all natural habitats as you find them.

Conserve the present:

  • Avoid introducing non-native plants and animals e.g. zebra mussels in rivers and lakes.
  • Do not build rock cairns, structures or shelters.

Dispose of Waste Properly

‘If You Bring It In, Take It Out’ – take home all litter and leftover food (including tea bags, fruit peels and other biodegradable foods).

To dispose of solid human waste, dig a hole 15-20cms deep and at least 30 metres from water, campsites and tracks. Cover and disguise the hole when finished.

Bring home toilet paper and hygiene products.

Wash yourself or your dishes 30 metres away from streams or lakes and if necessary use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Bring home any solids and scatter strained dishwater.

For more info on the Leave No Trace Principles, visit www.leavenotraceireland.org.

Beach Safety

Every year thousands of people get into real, life-threatening difficulty on the coast. They may be washed out to sea, pulled under by a strong rip current, or simply get into the water when conditions are dangerous.

To ensure you and your family don’t put yourselves in danger, the lifesaving charity, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) have offered some essential beach safety tips.

Top Tips to Stay Safe

  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach where possible, between the red and yellow flags.
  • Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas.
  • Check tide times before you go.
  • If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help.
  • If you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Staying Safe Know Your Beach Flags

Red and yellow flags indicate the area patrolled by lifeguards. These are the safe areas to swim, bodyboard and use inflatables.

The red flag indicates danger. NEVER enter the water when the red flag is flying, under any circumstances.

Black and white chequered flags indicate an area zoned by lifeguards for use of watercraft such as surfboards and kayaks. Never swim or bodyboard in these areas.

The orange windsock indicates offshore wind conditions. You should NEVER use an inflatable when the sock is flying.

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