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Quality Walk

Castle Ward Boundary Trail

The longest walking trail within Castle Ward, this trail incorporates sections of multi use trail with sections of narrow singletrack. Expect a range of users on the multi use sections including cyclists and horses. Expect numerous cyclists on the singletrack trails. This trail leads through fields where there may be livestock.

Follow the RED waymarker disks with the words 'Boundary Trail' around the edge.

County

Down

Distance

8.7 miles

OS Map

21

Nearest Town

Strangford

Route Shape

Circular

Route Type

Coastal, Parkland & Grassland, Woodland

Terrain

Off road trails narrow in places

Grid Reference (Start)

J575497

Grid Reference (End)

J575497

Point of Interest

Built & natural heritage including Farm Yard, Audley's Castle, Castle Ward House and Strangford Lough and its wildlife.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Strangford Lough

Route Description

Starting in the Shore Car Park, this circular trail leads along the shore of Strangford Lough and then around Audley's Castle through the surrounding woodland.

After crossing the Audleystown Road, looking out for traffic coming in both directions, the trail leads firstly through some woodland before leading through West Park - an area of historic farmland. Back into the woodland at Mallard Plantation, the trail narrows and branches left. Look out for cyclists on singletrack sections such as this.

After crossing Downpatrick Ave and a short 100m section on road, the trail leads left into Tullyratty an area of farmland designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI), due to the species rich grassland. Back into the woodland of Mountain Wood, follow the singletrack trail to Base Camp. After crossing the bridge continue on more singletrack meandering through woods and fields to reach the main entrance to the property. Cross with caution and look out for vehicles travelling in both directions.

Continue on through the historic grounds of Windmill Plantation and cross Church Walk with a view of Castle Ward house to the left. The trail then leads down through the Deer Park on the final singletrack descent to Strangford Avenue and the Shore Car Park. Again look out for other users and vehicles where you join Strangford Ave.

The trail is suitable for competent cyclists and walkers - expect other users on the trails - cyclists on the singletrack sections and horses and cyclists on the wider multi use sections.

This trail has an even surface throughout and is narrow in places, with some steeper gradients and numerous gates to open and close.

Please ensure all gates are closed after passing through. Many of these enclose livestock.

Users MUST follow the direction of travel as indicated by the waymarkers – this will enable you to see oncoming users, especially horses (where trails are multi use)

 

* Please note that National Trust entrance pricing applies for this walk. Please see the link below for details *

Getting to the Start (by Public Transport)

Translink - journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

Getting to the Start (by Car)

Parking for walkers is in the Shore Car Park within Castle Ward Demesne. The car park is clearly signed from the main entrance drive. There is an information panel and map in the Shore Car Park.

Getting to the Start (on Foot)

From the main entrance to Castle Ward, follow the signs to the Shore Car Park where there is an information panel and map.

Dogs

Dogs are allowed. Keep dogs on a lead or under control at all times

Accessibility Grade

Grade 5

Accessible Facilities

The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility:

Café (wheelchair accessible)
Disabled parking
Disabled toilets

Facilities

Car park, toilets, gift shop, tea room, bike hire

Publication

Castle Ward Trail Guide (s) and Map

Publication Availability

Guide and Map available from Castle Ward - various information points. Map also available to download on this page.

Walk Location
Map of Northern Ireland
 
Image Gallery

Ratings and Comments

★★★★★
Frank E Murray 28 October, 2017 @ 21:40

Superb walk. Marvelous and varied surroundings.

Well maintained

Always enjoy it

Great resource

★★★★★
Flobang 21 August, 2016 @ 13:55

Walked this on Friday past. It was raining before I started and kept on raining during the whole walk. Despite the weather, I was well waterproofed, the dog and I enjoyed ourselves. The surroundings are fantastic. The only person I met from start to finish was near Audleystown castle (no surprise given the weather).

From woodland to open fields and hilltop I loved every minute. There's a nice little viewpoint were you can stop for a rest and some refreshments if you've brought some.

There can be cattle in the fields so make sure if you have a dog to keep it under control while in these areas and stay alert for any cattle moving towards you. There is a substantial electric fence which should deter any accidental contact and it is sited several metres from the path until you get into the Mallard plantation.

All in a great walk and well deserved of a 5* rating.

★★★★★
Jane 29 May, 2016 @ 17:24

Walked on Friday, 27th. Easy to follow path with views across the Lough, then through bluebell woods, across parkland, and lumpy, rocky fields filled with brilliant yellow gorse smelling of coconut. Perfect Spring walk and a National Trust tea in the stable yard to follow. Heavenly!

★★★★★
peter 4 May, 2015 @ 16:50

Just completed this walk today 4 may 2015 with our dog, we started around 0830 and didn't come across anybody else until we arrived in castleward it's self, I would a quarter of the walk is through fields with livestock so the dog was kept on a lead but the rest of the walk dog's can be let off but kept under a watchful eye as there is a chance to meet a cyclist or horse rider. The beauty of the boundary walk is it is so diverse going from open field to dense woodland to shore line. Plenty of wildlife around and we came across some birds of prey probably buzzards, it will be approximately 6 miles before you get to castleward court yard were there are toilets etc. We parked at Audley's castle and started from there. Plenty of 'game of thrones' stuff about although we didn't manage to see anything exciting (apart from the buzzards)

We walk round Redburn country park on a daily basis so the boundary walk wasn't exactly a challenge but it was beautiful and peaceful. Start to finish including a few stops to admire the view etc took just less than 3 hours.

my advice is get there early and have it all to yourself

★★★★☆
Derek Flack 21 January, 2015 @ 15:26

Walked on 21 January 2015. Pleasant walk with varied terrain. Very easy with nothing at all challenging except for the occasional cyclist and the odd bit of mud. Visibility was poor on the day, but views would be great in better weather. If you can overcome any moral qualms, the entrance fee can be avoided by parking at Audley's Castle and joining the walk nearby.

★★★★★
Gareth Burns 8 July, 2013 @ 09:35

I walked this on the 7th of July 2013 when it was blisteringly hot. It's a fantastic walk and well sign posted. There is a good mix of areas (forest, hill and fields) so you won't feel you are just going through the motions of a long walk. Fantastic stuff.

★★★★★
Mark Reid 8 February, 2013 @ 15:27

Excellent walk this week. Snowdrops out. Good shelter from strong N wind among the woods. Excellent views across the Lough

★★★★★
Wayne 9 July, 2012 @ 15:18

Walked this 7th July expecting rain and misery, but the sun came out and we had a fantastic walk. Just the perfect distance for a fatty like myself. :-)

patricia cassidy 27 March, 2012 @ 13:32

completed this walk on Monday 19th March. Beautifull walk very picturesque and nice length. Only compalint the £6 to have to pay to get in to the grounds of Castle ward per person.....

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