Colourful autumn walks in Northern Ireland
Published February 23, 2017
As the leaves start changing colours and the nights draw in, there’s no better time to pull on the walking boots and take an autumn walk whilst enjoying some of the most spectacular and colourful landscapes that Northern Ireland has to offer. To help you take a step in the right direction, we’ve put together a range of walking trails and routes perfect for the season.
Golden autumn walks through Northern Ireland
Barnett Demesne, Belfast
Explore the historic estate of Barnett Demesne with a 1.5 mile autumn walk which takes in Malone House, meadows, woodland and the River Lagan.
Start at Malone House car park and follow the path round the front of the house and downhill while admiring views over the Lagan Valley, across Minnowburn Beeches and the wildflower meadow. Along the way you will discover the old Shaw's Bridge and a disused kissing gate.
Belfast Castle Estate
Belfast Castle Estate is situated on the lower slopes of Cave Hill Country Park in north Belfast and offers superb views of the city from a variety of vantage points.
Follow the blue waymarked 'Estate Trail' for 2.4 miles for a walk through its woodland and parkland which will take in the Millennium Maze, the Volunteer's Well and Belfast Castle.
Portmuck, County Antrim
A hidden gem at the north eastern tip of Islandmagee, Portmuck is a stunning little harbour with fabulous views of the Antrim Coast.
The National Trust owns and manages the coastline on either side of the harbour and has provided excellent trails for visitors to enjoy the scenery and dramatic views.
There are two linear routes on either side of the harbour – the northern route to the left and the southern route to the right.
Carnfunnock Country Park, Larne, County Antrim
Walkers can enjoy a selection of great routes to explore the picturesque surroundings of Carnfunnock Country Park.
The walking paths overlap each other in places and it is possible to follow each. There are five way-marked trails which take in the Walled Garden – with unusual sundials and wooden sculptures, a maze the shape of Northern Ireland, an ice house, woodland and wetland, as well as great views of the coast.
Gosford Forest Park, Markethill, County Armagh
The Castle Path circular walking route in Gosford Forest Park takes in the Arboretum and southern end of the Walled Garden before reaching the boundary of the privately owned Gosford Castle.
From here the path leads through oak and Norway spruce plantations returning to the car park by the rare breed and heritage poultry enclosures. The trail is well signposted from the car park.
Peatlands Woodland Walk, Loughgall, County Armagh
The Peatlands Woodland Walk is one of five lovely walks around this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Follow the path marked with the yellow arrows and watch for cuckoos and birds of prey using the dead pines as lookout posts.
Annagarriff Wood is a National Nature Reserve with unique flora and fauna species, many of which are found nowhere else in Northern Ireland.
Lough Navar Forest Park, Derrygonnelly, County Fermanagh
From the main forest drive there are lots of short walks signed to various points of interest including lakes, viewpoints and places of historical interest.
Lough Navar is a stunning forest with a variety of landscapes offering views over Lower Lough Erne and on a clear day the Sperrin Mountains and the west coast of Donegal.
Meelmore and Meelbeg, Hilltown, County Down
This is a moderate 5.5 mile walk in the high Mournes at two of the seven highest peaks in the region. Walk up the stony track at the opposite side of the road from Ott car park until it splits in two. Here take the upper path until the Mourne Wall.
At the wall turn left and follow the Mourne Wall up the summits of Slieve Loughshannagh (619m), Slieve Meelbeg (708m) and Slieve Meelmore (687m). Retrace your steps 300m back down Slieve Meelmore and descend into the valley. At the bottom of the valley pick up the Ulster Way which emerges onto the Slievenaman Road, 800m away from the Ott car park.
Sperrins, County Tyrone
The Sperrin Mountains, stretching along the border of counties Tyrone and Derry~Londonderry, can best be described as wild, untouched and beautiful.
Spanning 40 miles, the Sperrins mountain range is the largest in Ireland. Walkers can expect undulating hills covered in heather, quiet valleys, boggy uplands and a land teeming with wildlife.
Dungannon Park, County Tyrone
The Park Trail is set amongst the beautiful backdrop of Dungannon Park – a 70 acre oasis.
The walk's paths surround the grounds mature woodland, brightly coloured flowerbeds and the magnificent 13 acre freshwater lake. High ground offers the walker splendid viewpoints of surrounding townland and countryside with views of Lough Neagh on a clear day.
Davagh Forest, Cookstown, County Tyrone
Davagh Forest is a true hidden gem and lies approximately six miles north west of Cookstown in an untouched rural landscape of rolling hills and sweeping forests. Here there is a range of walking and mountain biking trails available.
The two mile short circuit walk follows the black waymarker arrows along a pleasant riverside path which meanders through beautiful woodland.
Roe Valley Country Park, County Londonderry
The river makes for lush woodland and opportunities to spot foxes, badgers and otters. You'll also come across 'The Leap of the Dog' scuplture, part of the Limavady Sculpture Trail, which is nestled in the park and commemorates a legendary dog which saved the O'Cahan family from enemy ambush.
Errigal Glen Trail, Garvagh, County Londonderry
The Errigal Glen Trail is one of two waymarked trails in the picturesque Glenullin region, three miles south west of Garvagh.
The route follows woodland trail, country roads, forest road and open hillside. Points of interest include the ancient remains of the Errigal Old Church and the Gortnamoyagh Inauguration Stone.
Downhill Forest, Castlerock, County Londonderry
Downhill Forest is a small mixed woodland of 83 hectares just inland from the Causeway Coastal Route.
The forest was originally part of the estate of Frederick Harvey, the 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry, which included Downhill Castle.
A walk through Downhill Forest will allow you to view one of Northern Ireland's fattest Sitka spruces, an Early Christian Promontory Fort and an old water powered sawmill with its blade running round the small lake in the middle of this woodland.
There are two waymarked paths in the forest, one is just over a kilometre long while the other is two kilometres in length and the Ulster Way also runs through part of the forest.
Posted by Mags
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