WalkNI.com Your definitive guide to walking in Northern Ireland

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The beauty and variety of the Northern Ireland landscape, the compact distances, ever-changing vistas, and the mild climate, make this a wonderful place to explore on foot. And the good news is that Northern Ireland offers a wide range of walks all packed into a relatively small area. This website is your definitive guide to walking in Northern Ireland, giving up to date and accurate information on walks, for the serious rambler and for those who want to take a short stroll.

These are so many beautiful areas to walk throughout Northern Ireland, but a few highlights are shown below.

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The Sperrins

The Sperrins are the second highest (678m at the highest point) and the least explored mountain range in Northern Ireland. Recognised as a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the mountainous valleys of the Sperrins are threaded with rivers, streams, forest lakes and shady glens. Walkers in the Sperrins can amble freely along quiet roads and laneways, hike over rough terrain or stroll in the forest parks with their trails and tracks. Frequently in this area, you will find yourself walking in solitude.

Binevenagh

The headland of Binevenagh is very distinctive with its dramatic cliffs (vertical drops of over 100m). From the cliff tops, there are spectacular panoramic views of Magilligan, Inishowen in County Donegal and of Islay and Jura in Scotland. The area includes some of the finest beaches and dune systems in Ireland, making this an attractive and dramatic place to walk.

Causeway Coast

The Causeway Coast is one of Europe’s most scenic areas taking in picturesque fishing villages, rugged cliffs, magnificient coastline and the UNESCO World Heritage Site at the Giant’s Causeway. Extending for 30km along North Antrim, there is no shortage of wonderful coastal walks, and although many of these are linear walks, there is ample public transport, as this area is well developed for visitors.

Antrim Coast & Glens

This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty includes Northern Ireland's only inhabited offshore island, Rathlin Island, the Glens of Antrim and the coastal area between Larne and Ballycastle. It is dominated by the Antrim Plateau rising to over 500m, cut by fast flowing rivers to form a series of picturesque glens running east and north-east towards the sea. This coastline tends to be much less walked than the Causeway Coast, but no less spectacular, and inland it also boasts wild open expanses of moorland on the plateau.

Fermanagh

Fermanagh is best known for its angling and watersports, but this magical area with its spectacular waterways, stately homes, castles and forest parks is a beautiful yet tranquil place to walk. A visit to the Cuilcagh Mountain Park, a dramatic and rugged area of wilderness, is highly recommended, which is home to Fermanagh’s highest peak, Cuilcagh Mountain (665m). Cuilcagh Mountain Park was awarded the European Geopark Status in 2001.

Ring of Gullion

The area around Slieve Gullion (573m) in the south of County Armagh is the most scenic part of the county. The mountain is surrounded by a ring of foothills called the Ring of Gullion. Rich wildlife habitats of heath, bog and woodland contrast with neatly patterned fields and ladder farms, make this an extremely pretty and interesting place to walk.

The Mournes

The Mournes is often said to be Northern Ireland’s “crowning glory” and it is certainly the most popular area for walkers in Northern Ireland. Rising dramatically from the sea, the Mourne mountain range is dominated by a compact ring of twelve summits, each rising above 600m. The highest peak, Slieve Donard, measures 853m. The Mournes are unusual in that their summits are grouped together in an area only 7 miles in breadth and 15 miles long, but this provides a wonderful opportunity for walkers to experience a diverse landscape all within a compact area.

Strangford Lough & Lecale Coast

Strangford Lough is the largest sea lough in the British Isles; it is almost totally landlocked apart from its connection to the Irish sea through the Strangford Narrows. The Lecale Coast, the coastal area between Strangford Lough and the Mournes, has a low, sometimes sandy, rocky or grassy shoreline. The Strangford and Lecale area is renowned for its rich wildlife including Brent geese and seals. With dozens of small islands, a wealth of tidal rocky outcrops and sandy coves, this area is of great interest to walkers who enjoy spotting wildlife and enjoy walking low gradient walks.