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Adder's Loanin' (Ballyward Walk)

Public Notice:  There is currently flooding on the Moat Pad section of the route approximately 500m from the Lighthouse Road.  Council is currently investigating the problem. 

A walk combining public rights of way and country roads within the Slieve Croob sector of the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Probably a walk for the more experienced rambler as the condition of the off-road sections can be challenging at times. The walk takes in very scenic countryside.

Formerly within the former Banbridge District Council area as from April 1 2015 the route falls within the new Newry, Mourne & Down District Council area.




5.5 (approx), miles

OS Map

Sheet 20

Nearest Town


Route Shape


Route Type



Farm lane and road

Grid Reference (Start)


Grid Reference (End)


Point of Interest

The Lighthouse Road Car Park, Viewpoint and Picnic site offers a lovely panorama of the Mourne Mountains - at its best when the sun is setting on a summer's evening.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Route Description

Public Notice:  There is currently flooding on the Moat Pad section of the route approximately 500m from the Lighthouse Road.  Council is currently investigating the problem. 

Park at Lighthouse Road Car Park. If you are in luck you may see - looking over the valley towards the Mourne Mountains - an aerobatic display by red kites. RSPB have released breeding pairs in recent years in this area. Red Kites are distinctive because of their forked tail and striking colour - predominantly chestnut red with white patches under the wings and a pale grey head. They have a wingspan of nearly two metres (about five-and-a-half-feet), but a relatively small body weight of 2 - 3 Ibs. This means the bird is incredibly agile, and can stay in the air for many hours with hardly a beat of its wings.

Turn L out of car park and walk along L'house Road for approx. 1 mile ignoring the lst footpath sign on L , continue to next footpath sign on L and turn into this lane - follow lane to where it branches off to the L (away from house) follow until you see a small wooden gate on R leading to a grass path follow this path 'Moat Pad' over the hill until you come to a farm yard (can be v. muddy here).

Pass thru farm yard and continue along concrete lane to meet the Rathfriland Road. Turn Left into Rathfriland Road at Turley's Pub, shop and restaurant, turn Left into the Ballymackilreiny Road, continue to the end of this road to where it joins Millvale Road.

At junction take Left  into Millvale Road, continue along this road looking on Left for a wooden footpath sign leading into Adder's Loanin'. Cross over the stile and continue along this farm lane which can be very muddy especially at its start and where it ends near a farm yard.

At the final stile cross, and continue along side of a farm shed across an open field to a stile. Climb stile and turn R into concrete farm lane, follow concrete lane to meet the Lighthouse Road, turn R at road to return starting point.

Getting to the Start (by Public Transport)

Public transport in the area is poor and irregular with limited routes.

Getting to the Start (by Car)

Walks starts at Lighthouse Road Car park, viewpoint and picnic area approx. 2 miles from Leitrim. At the crossroad in Leitrim take the Ballydrumman Road for approx. 2 miles until you come to a x road where the Ballydrumman Road meets the Derryneil and Lighthouse Roads. Turn R into the Lighthouse Road and about 0.5 mile along this road look out for the stone wall of the car park with cattle grid at its entrance opposite a white cottage with a very high pitched roof.

The walk is not signed from the car park so follow the route description.


Dogs are allowed. Should be under close control at all times.


Turleys Bar, Restaurant and shop at Dechomet/Lowtown on the B7 Rathfriland to Dromara Road. (limited opening). Shops and pubs at Leitrim & Dromara. Castlewellan approx. 6.5 miles.

Turnip House - Teashop and Crafts
64 Dromara Road, Ballyward, Castlewellan, Co. Down, BT31 9UF.
t: 028 4065 0848
e: info@turniphouse.com

Surrounding Area (not on walk route). Photos of souterrian and Legananny Dolmen are included in the gallery.

Slieve Croob Transmitter Road Walk from Dree Hill Car Park (picnic and viewpoint site) - see link to Slieve Croob attractions map for location of this and following:

Finnis Souterrain, Carrigagh Road (near Finnis/Massford) - hidden gem - scheduled historic monument opened to the public by Banbridge District Council in 2003. Underground structure dating from c. 9th century - lit by solar lighting. Narrow space - requires bending and stooping to enter. Normally open at all times but prone to flooding after periods of heavy rain so may not always be accessible.

Legananny Dolmen - state care monument - one of the most photographed dolmens in Ireland, located off Dolmen Road. 4 miles (6.4 km) south of Dromara & 5 miles (8 km) n.w. of Castlewellan. .



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Walk Location
Map of Northern Ireland
Image Gallery

Ratings and Comments

Keith & Harold 13 November, 2017 @ 16:01

Excellent walk and we did see a Red Kite! Very wet/muddy in places and would be very challenging if walked clockwise!

The guide to the walk is good except for a grammatical error which is mis-leading?

When reaching the Rathfriland Road and turn LEFT walking about 1/2mile to the crossroad and turn LEFT at Turleys Pub, down Ballyma......Road. No problem thereafter.

Hayley 24 July, 2017 @ 00:47

My fiance and I got engaged here when we went for a walk back in November. The sun was shinning and there was snow on the hills and surrounding areas. Such a beautiful place! I couldn't have picked a better place for him to pop the question.

Tony Barry 1 June, 2016 @ 21:09

Easily one of the most enjoyable and scenic walks I have done in NI. Highly recommended for a fine day. Suspect it could be quite muddy if raining.

Derek Flack 28 January, 2015 @ 11:09

I reckon this was my favourite walk of 2014. The views of the Mournes are superb and the Lighthouse Road car park must be one of the most scenic in the country. The area is delightfully quiet and exudes a quiet, relaxed ambience. My only quibble would be the fact that one or two of the gates on the walk were locked or fastened which led to me having to lift the dog over.

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