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Adder's Loanin' (Ballyward Walk)

A walk combining public rights of way and country roads within the Slieve Croob area within 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.




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

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

Pass through 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 right into concrete farm lane, follow concrete lane to meet the Lighthouse Road, turn right at road to return starting point.

Getting to the Start (by Public Transport)

Translink Journey Planner - http://bit.ly/1Wwefae

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
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Ratings and Comments

James 8 October, 2018 @ 16:49

Walked this today. It's near - but not as good as - the Pass loanin walk. Views are pretty good, though a lot of the scenery is working farms, animals and dogs that bark incessantly. You'll need to be fit enough to jump some gates and be very, very wary of all the animals you see (dogs included).

The directions on the map provided here could be much improved... so see mine, below. There are however some markers at points on the walk which is helpful.

A better description of the route is -

Turn left out of the car park. Walk on. Ignore the first sign to "moat pad" on your left (you will end up here later), keep going and take the second sign to "moat pad". There's a very annoying dog in the house alongside the sign by the way. Ignore it. Keep going up the lane and, where the path splits, go left. You'll end up following a really thin green lane that seems to be doubling back on your route. Keep following it and you will end up on a concrete road.

Now here comes the important NEW part - head towards the farm. You may notice a load of amendment to public right of way laminated posters up. These explain what you're about to see. Just before you go into the farmer's house yard, there's a stile with one of the laminated posters stapled to it. Go in here. It's a big junk / construction yard at the moment, thank the gods though the kind farmer has put up an electric fence to protect you from the cattle in this field. Just beside the barn there's a gate and the ravaged remains of a stile. Jump the gate. (The old guide refers to this as the "second stile"). You'll end up in the green lane again, this time it looks like a bomb hit it. Seriously the fence had fallen into the lane and there's almost no space around it.

Keep following the lane. You will run into gates and signposting. Once you are out, you're straight onto a road. Turn right and take the next road on your right. You follow this for a good long distance uphill (all on the road by the way). Eventually you get to a crossroads with a shop. Turn right and go up the hill. Note that the "shop" is a DIY type store and not a corner shop sadly.

Up this hill, there's a sign after about 3/4 of a mile that says "public footpath. Now you're going to march past a load of houses and farm sheds to a gate right at the top. This is a cattle farm, so prepare for some truly diabolical smells. Beware the open slurry pit too.

Once at the gate, just keep going. You will end up coming out of a (hopefully familiar) little gate. Go right and you'll see the farm you had to hop the gate at. This time, go down the left lane away from the farm. Follow this to the end, then turn right and voila, you're home.

W.B.Dickinson 5 September, 2018 @ 20:52


A very enjoyable walk but near the far end of the Moat Pad there was a very angry bull which I came face to face with at a point on the track where the fence was broken down. I had to retreat behind a gate for several minutes before I was able to complete the walk. Seriously scarey stuff.

Saturday !st. September.

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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