Are you ready to explore the fantastic trails that can be found in Newry, Mourne and Down - This is our ultimate guide!
Newry, Mourne and Down boasts many fantastic trails to explore on foot! Whether you are a local looking for some inspiration for your next walk or you are planning a visit to the area check out our top picks and ultimate guide to exploring this location below.
Not to be missed trails
Castlewellan Forest Park – Slievenaslat Trail
This 2.2 mile circular trail climbing through the forest provides walkers with mountaintop views without the mountain climb. The viewpoint at the top provides panoramic views of the Mournes and the rolling drumlin hills of County Down. Castlewellan Forest Park also is the perfect location for a family day out with one of Ireland’s largest mazes to get lost in for a while, playpark and also onsite activities such as kayaking and mountain biking. Toilet and cafe facilities are also available onsite.
Aughrim Hill Wood
Aughrim Hill, situated in the heartland of the Mourne mountains in County Down, will be transformed from a bare hillside with no tree cover to a habitat with over 110,000 native trees. In total the new woodland habitat stretches to 60 hectares. There are a few options for routes to choose from so you can see Co. Down from lots of different angles.
The Narnia Trail
This 0.3 mile circular family loop trail takes you through woodland at Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor. The famous writer, C S Lewis, as a young boy, spent much holiday time in the Mournes and Rostrevor in particular, allowing him to imagine, dream and wonder, and inspiring his creation of the magical world of Narnia. ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ have sold over 100 million copies. Lewis is reported to have written a letter to his brother saying: “That part of Rostrevor which overlooks Carlingford Lough is my idea of Narnia”. This family trail seeks to capture the imagination of children of all ages.
Tobar Mhuire Heritage Trail
Tobar Mhuire is a 1.6 mile community trail in the heart of Crossgar, set in 55 acres of woodland. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing stroll through the grounds exploring some of the unique heritage including Mary’s Well (a holy well), Victorian walled garden and a spectacular view of the Mourne Mountains and Co Down landscape. Car parking facilities are available onsite.
Castle Ward – Castle Trail
This 1.9 mile circular walking trail leads along the shore of Strangford Lough and then through Audley’s wood before returning to the farmyard on the minor Audleystown Road. This trail leads through fields where there may be livestock. Follow the PINK waymarker disks with the words ‘Castle Trail’. Car park, toilet and cafe facilities can be found within the ground of this National Trust Property – Free entry to NT Members.
Drumkeeragh Forest – Viewpoint Trail
This 4.3 mile circular walking trail takes in some of the best views that Drumkeeragh Forest has to offer. The circuit initially follows the perimeter of the woodland before taking you deep in to the heart of the forest. A steady ascent rewards you with panoramic views of the Mourne Mountains and Dundrum Bay before returning to the car park. Note: this trail is not suitable for cyclists. The viewpoint trail follows the purple waymarkers around the forest park.
Top 5 walks in the Mournes
The highest and most dramatic mountain range in Northern Ireland, there is no shortage of walks with fabulous views and breath-taking hills to climb in the Mourne Mountains, Co. Down. With so many to choose from we’ve put together a list of the top 5 viewed walks in the Mourne Mountains on WalkNI.com. Click on the links below for downloadable route descriptions and maps. Check out our popular blog here.
Long Distance Walks through Newry, Mourne and Down
The Ulster Way (Northern Ireland’s longest walking trail) passes through Newry, Mourne and Down offering walkers opportunities to explore long distance sections of take on a challenge walk. Some of the highlights of the Ulster Way through Newry, Mourne and Down are the rugged shoreline of the Lecale Way and the Mourne Way which traverses the foothills of the Mourne Mountains from Newcastle to Rostrevor on Carlingford Lough through a unique, largely granite landscape.
This 82 mile signed walking trail connects key sites relating to Saint Patrick and Christian Heritage, taking you through some of Northern Ireland’s most spectacular scenic landmarks.
Saint Patrick’s Way is suitable for leisure walking and pilgrimages. The walk begins at the Navan Centre outside Armagh City and will lead you through Armagh and Down’s rural, industrial and linen heritage, via canal towpath to the historic city of Newry. The walk then takes a scenic route through the stunning Mourne Mountains, through beautiful forest to the seaside town of Newcastle. From here, the Walk travels through the untamed landscape of Murlough Bay Nature Reserve, by Dundrum Castle, Tyrella Beach and finally to Downpatrick.
A special Pilgrim’s Passport aims to enhance the walking experience as well as acting as a recorded souvenir of the journey. The passport is available from The Navan Centre & Fort and local Visitor Information Centres or can be downloaded online. Stamp your passport at the 10 specified locations along the route and present your stamped passport at The Saint Patrick’s Centre, Downpatrick to receive your certificate of achievement.
The Pilgrim’s Walk takes between 6-10 days, depending on your pace. While the walk is signposted and divided into manageable sections, as detailed in the guide, it is recommended that you accompany this information with Ordance Survey Maps. Every day is different- The route covers varied topography, from rolling hills to canal towpaths. Every day offers different views and terrain, with a combination of off- and on-road trails. With plenty to do and see along the way, there are many cafes, restaurants and picnic sites for refuelling.
Mourne Gullion Strangford UNESCO Global Geopark Status
Mourne Gullion Strangford was awarded the internationally coveted UNESCO Geopark status in May 2023 making it one of only 18 outstanding landscapes worldwide to be awarded full accreditation this year. The landscape encompasses Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Mourne, Ring of Gullion and Strangford Lough and Lecale. Mourne Gullion Strangford’s varied and beautiful landscape has been shaped over aeons by the collision of continents, the appearance and disappearance of oceans, through tumultuous volcanic events, and the rough treatment of ice ages. It has shaped a rich biodiversity and a vibrant cultural life, which the new Geopark will celebrate.
It is unique amongst UNESCO Global Geoparks as it tells ‘A Tale of Two Oceans’ across 400 million years of geological history. The geology of the area charts the closure of the ancient Iapetus Ocean, which brought together the island of Ireland’s two parts. It follows the island drifting with the continents through tropical latitudes and then welcomes the birth of the modern North Atlantic Ocean. Finally, the last glaciation carved this ancient landscape into the fantastic place we see today. No other UNESCO Global Geoparks has such a range of geological characteristics or can tell this story.
A Geopark is a single unified geographical area, in this case, stretching from the waters of Strangford across the Mourne Mountains to the Ring of Gullion and beyond. A Geopark is a landscape that is managed holistically for the protection of its geology, the education of its people and visitors, and the sustainable development of its businesses. The Mourne Gullion Strangford UNESCO Global Geopark is about working together to make the most of our beautiful landscape through sustainable tourism, biodiversity improvements, geological education and sustainably managed outdoor recreation.
Those visiting Newry Mourne and Down can partake in a number of annual walking festivals and events. The most popular festival amongst walkers is the annual Wee Binnians Walking Festival which typically takes place in September. Throughout the weekend the club offer a variety of graded walks, led by trained and experienced leaders, for all categories of walker. On the Saturday night join the fun of the legendary Blister Boogie, the social highlight of the weekend which includes dinner and dancing. More information can be found on the Walking Festivals section of WalkNI.
Dogs are allowed to explore the majority to trails in Fermanagh and Omagh providing they are on a lead and kept under control. Please ensure that you pick up any dog waste and dispose of this in the appropriate dog bins provided. If a bin is not provided please dispose of this waste at home.
Leave No Trace – Keep Trails Tidy
Fermanagh and Omagh Council encourage you to practice the principles of Leave No Trace when out exploring this region on foot. If waste bins are full please bring your rubbish home and dispose of it there. All these little steps can help you stay on the ‘Right Side of Outside’.
Stay on the Right Side of Outside!
We encourage you to make clear plans in advance of your visit to hotspot sites within the Mournes. Check out our guides on parking, wild camping, dogs and importantly planning ahead before you go to help ensure you stay on the right side of outside.
Pick up a pre-post walk coffee
If like us, you eagerly anticipate a pre/post-walk coffee then look no further than the on-the-go hot beverages available from our sponsor Barista Bar. This means you can spend more time enjoying the fantastic walking trails Northern Ireland has to offer. Barista Bar is the biggest coffee brand in Northern Ireland and delivers the experience of convenient, top quality coffee and hot beverages for SPAR, EUROSPAR, VIVO and VIVOXTRA customers. The team have even created the ultimate walking playlist check it out on Spotify at https://spoti.fi/3LYBazk
Share your Newry, Mourne and Down walking adventures!
We always love to see your out and about on the trails pictures! We are interested to find out what trails you are exploring. Tag us on social media using #WalkNI #NMNDWalks.