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Quality Walk

Blackhead Path

NOTE: Blackhead Path is currently closed for repair


This seaside walk goes from Whitehead Boat Club to and around Blackhead. The path runs northeast from Whitehead and is lined by interesting wildlife habitats including grassland, woodland (known locally as the 'Magic Forest') and a rocky shoreline. The Lough itself is an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) famed for its bird population.




2.4 miles

OS Map


Nearest Town


Route Shape


Route Type

Beach, Coastal, Woodland


Level surfaced path, steep steps

Grid Reference (Start)


Grid Reference (End)


Point of Interest

The Blackhead Lighthouse

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Other Area

Route Description

This walk starts at Whitehead Yacht Club and leads along a coastal path and up some steep steps to Blackhead Lighthouse. From here walkers descend some more steep steps back to the coastal path and back to the car park.

At present, the section of path around Blackhead itself is currently closed. This is due to damage to the path and to the handrails which have collapsed in places. There is a programme of maintenance works underway, and we will update the website when these works have been completed.


Getting to the Start (by Public Transport)

Translink - journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

Getting to the Start (by Car)

By car take the A2 from Carrickfergus or Larne. Car parking is available at the start of Blackhead Path.

Accessibility Grade

Grade 5

Accessible Facilities

The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility:

Disabled toilets


Car park, toilets - 10p. There are also several shelters along the walk.

Whitehead has a number of cafe facilities and public toilets.

Whitehead can be reached by car, bus and train. For further information on public transport options visit www.translink.co.uk.


Whitehead Highway to Health. Whitehead Wildlife Walk. The Causeway Coast + Glens.

Publication Availability

Contact Carrickfergus Tourist Information Centre - tel: 028 9335 8049 or email: touristinfo@carrickfergus.org. Whitehead Wildlife Walk and The Causeway Coast + Glens Walking Guide also available to download on this page.

Walk Location
Map of Northern Ireland
Image Gallery

Ratings and Comments

David Martin 22 February, 2016 @ 07:58

Great walk but unfortunately is currently closed from close to the steps up to the lighthouse at the bottom and at the lighthouse gate at the top. This means you miss the most interesting and quirky part under the lighthouse. Still a pleasant walk along the seaside and climb up the steps to keep you fit.

T J McClean 18 July, 2014 @ 07:35

Thurs 17th July 2014 finds us once more, out on the fabulous Whitehead Blackhead Lighthouse Coastal path. The walk is between 2-3 miles long. It begins at the yacht club near the rail crossing at the far end of the town. Enjoy the brightly painted BnBs along the seafront, then dander to the far end of the promenade, past the open air swimming pool and on through the vast carpark area with it's self cleaning loo.

The concrete coastal path, circular walk, before you, is a mixture of easy going, level coastal path with woods and fields beside you, steep climb cliff path, stepped decline path, rocky ragged coastal path under the cliffs and finally winds back home to your starting point.

You cannot miss the wonderful, extensive, sea facing, garden you pass early on the outward journey. Be amazed by the wide selection of salt loving or adapted, shrubs succulents and flowers. There is also a vegetable garden on the upper level behind the house, complete with greenhouse and vine and in the summer tomato and cucumber. This garden is about an acre in size and is lovingly tended by an elderly gentleman.

Onward and if fit, (if not, keep to the flat! ), take the upward path to the left, past the wildflower garden in front of the shelter. Climb to the top of the rise and admire the views over to Bangor and the Copeland Islands and the Isle of Man, then round further to the left you might spot Ailsa Craig and Scotland, if the mist is not down. Don't forget to notice the little alpines that can be found on cliff faces and walls. Watch out for Peregrine falcon and Kiitiwake hunting and floating over the sea and cliffs. On a hot day you just might be lucky to spot a lizard darting across your path. Out to sea I am assured that you might see dolphin.

Admire the views from the lighthouse then it is down the steps on the other side to ground level to play pirates among the coves inlets and caves. Stop and watch the guys fishing for pollock and mackerel from the rocks. Then on round past the 1800's, hedge school master, McCartney's home and you are heading back past the outdoor gym past the Wren stones and home. Don't forget to call in at the excellent town tearoom on the corner before driving home.

This walk is well worth the journey out from Belfast on any day of the week. People come from all over to enjoy it. Absolutely wonderful! Don't you miss it!

See my Youtube video about the walk by going on Youtube and typing in, 'Tom McClean.' hope you enjoy!

denise turkington 28 May, 2013 @ 23:24

Have done this walk several times. great views from the top if you can manage the steps.. Can b steep but well worth the climb..

Marie Field 30 July, 2012 @ 13:17

This walk belongs to the nation & enjoyed by many.Hope Carrick Council are far sighted enought to keep it open.

Esther O'Hara 27 July, 2012 @ 19:02

Beautiful walk for all ages and pets. I come from Ballyclare to do this walk.

Simon Wheeler 25 February, 2012 @ 17:08

This is a great walk, but Carrickfergus Council are planning to close it permanently. Please express your support to keep it open

Campbell Lawley 15 March, 2009 @ 21:28

This walk is very relaxing. The sound from the sea, the views make it a worth while trip. The climb up to the lighthouse is steep. If you can't make the steps you can alway walk back along the path and still feel the pleasure of the walk.

Robert Nesbitt 13 March, 2009 @ 13:45

I belong to the Lagan valley Ramblers Club and I walk this walk Every year when they Do it and I find it very Challenging you go from the Carpark to the Lighthouse from where the Path Ends and Climb the steps My best friend was not sure about it at first but put Her best foot forward and was Rewarded with a Lovely view of Scotland and the isle of Man could this Path be Extended A a clift top Path or B a lower Path to Island Magee along the Coast just like the Gobbins seems a sin to waste such a Lovely path of only a Short Distance only to go back to the carpark again

karen 15 February, 2009 @ 14:14

great walk, loved the views

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