The villages of Strangford and Portaferry lie only half a mile apart however they sit either side of the narrows, where the waters of Strangford Lough meet the Irish Sea. Walkers can cross this turbulent stretch of water on a short ferry crossing (deaprts every 30 minutes) meaning that you can explore both sides of the picturesque Strangford Lough in one day.
Morning - Castle Ward
Castle Ward offers a variety of trails - some hug the shores of Strangford Lough, others pass through woodland, tower houses, castles and ancient monuments. The trails are dotted throughout its landscape and a wealth of wildlife can be discovered.
Afternoon - Corrog Wood
Corrog wood was formerly an area of grazing fields set upon a drumlin in the rolling hills landscape typical of the Ards Peninsula, with gentle slopes down to the nearby lough and farmland. From the top of the wood you can see down to Strangford Lough and across the Portaferry House lands.
Lecale Way (2 day itinerary) - 40 miles (64.4 km)
The Lecale Way extends from the heart of Downpatrick, taking in Strangford Lough and finishing in the seaside resort of Newcastle. This 2 day itinerary offers walkers the opportunity to explore tower houses, castles and ancient monuments dotted throughout this landscape. There is also a wealth of wildlife waiting to be discovered along the contrasting shores of Strangford Lough and the Irish Sea.
Day 1 - Downpatrick to Ardglass - 22 miles (35.4 km)
Beginning from the St Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, day 1 takes walkers on quiet rural roads to the Strangford coast and National Trust property of Castle Ward. Walkers then pass through the picturespue coastal villages of Strangford and Ballyhornan before reaching Ardglass. This coastline provides a stunning outlook over towards the Ards Pennisula and on a clear day further to the UK mainland. Most of this day's walking will be on quiet rural roads with some off road coastal paths.
Day 2 - Ardglass to Newcastle - 18 miles (29 km)
Day 2 begins by passing through the village of Killough and rounding St. John's Point. The route continues to hug the South Down coastline as far as Ballykinler before heading inland crossing over the Blackstaff bridge. The route then follows the Dundrum Coastal Path and off road trail through Murlough Nature Reserve before heading into Newcastle by the the beach.
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