This walk leads walkers through the wooded hillsides that surround Rostrevor to reach the summit of Slievemartin and a dramatic view of the fjord like waters of Carlingford 500m below.
Sheet 29, Mournes Outdoor Pursuits Map (1:25,000)
Forest paths, steep in places
Slievemartin (485m), views over Carlingford Lough
Leave the main car park and turn right downhill until reaching a small car park on the left hand side (infront of some Forest offices).
From here follow the forest track for 150m to enter Rostrevor Oakwood (signed at a stile). This oakwood is a National Nature reserve and is one of the very few native woodlands in Northern Ireland.
After 450m the track forks, continue along the higher level fork. The path leaves the oakwood at its junction with a forestry road. Turn left along the road until after 250m; a minor grassy track leads off right (upslope) through a small stand of conifers.
For 300m the track winds uphill (turning sharp left at one point). The track ends at a junction with a forestry road. Turn right and proceed to a walled viewpoint (75m) offering views over Carlingford Lough.
From here, the steepness with which the hill slopes reach the sea can be appreciated. Below the viewpoint, the steep coastline permits only one road like to Rostrevor with the flatter Mourne countryside further east. Looking right, the Loughs waters are constricted beyond Warrenpoint at Old narrow Water castle. Built in 1560, the castle defended the entrance to Newry River estuary.
Leave the viewpoint by retracing the forestry road. Turn right after 25m onto a smaller track leading gently upslope.
After 300m the path connects with an open grassy area containing the Cloughmore Stone.
The Cloughmore ‘Big Stone’ is reputed to have been thrown by Finn McCool at an enemy; in reality it was deposited here during the Ice Age.
From the stone, cross the open ground to find an obvious track in the forest opposite (10m east). Follow the track (avoid a right fork after 100m), which provides an easy walking route to the upper edge of the forest (1km). From here cross the open ground to the summit of Slievemartin.
To return, rejoin the forest track which leads steadily downslope to a tarmac car park. Walk along the roadway, a Forest Drive, from the lower end of the car park, following it until it crosses (left) the Glen Stream. Immediately over the stream, turn right off the road onto the riverside path. This follows the Glen Stream downriver and provides a pleasant diversion before rejoining the roadway.
To complete the walk turn right and then (after 50m) left. Follow the road back to the car park and the start.
Please be aware - Although, there are numerous walking routes in the Mournes, the majority of these popular walks are not formally designated public rights of way. Most routes have developed over time due to traditional use. Below 600 feet (180m) most land is privately owned and is farmed or grazed. Many of the traditional access routes cross this land or pass along farm lanes and quarry tracks. Walkers are advised to respect that they may be walking on private land and are encouraged to make themselves aware of and adhere to the principles of 'Leave No Trace' - www.leavenotraceireland.org"
Please remember that much of the land you will cross is private property and access is only available through the goodwill of the landowners. Although some areas of the countryside have been traditionally used for recreation, the public have no general rights to access such land and are only walking with the tolerance of the landowner.
From the town of Rostrevor follow signs to Kilbroney Park. The main car park is located approx 400 m on the left hand side.
Dogs are allowed. Dogs must be kept on leads
Toilets and cafe in the main car park. There is a information centre, opening hours apply.
Caravan and camp site, tennis courts, children's play area and BBQ sites all available.
Route 7 in a pack titled - 'Mourne Mountain Walks' produced by Mourne Heritage Trust
This pack of route cards costs £5.95 and is available from - Mourne Heritage Trust - 028 4372 4059 Newcastle Tourist Information Centre - 028 4372 2222
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