Bloody Bridge Coastal Route

(2 reviews)

The Bloody Bridge Coastal Route is important for the access it affords visitors to an otherwise generally inaccessible coastline. Have a look at the cliffs around Bloody Bridge as they provide nesting grounds for fulmars, black guillemots and herring gulls. Linnets and Stonechats can be seen among the gorse, while out to sea divers, auks, terns, gannets and cormorants may be spotted. The area’s dry heath habitat of western gorse and bell heather is recognised as being of European importance. Interesting rock formations can be seen along this trail. This linear route ends when you reach the rocky shore

Excellent views can be had across Dundrum Bay and, on a clear day, to the Isle of Man.

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Bloody Bridge Coastal Route

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  • We walked this several times this week as we were staying locally. Lovely coastal scenery with history and geology thrown in. Lots of wild flowers. We prefersedthe southern half as it was lower and so farther from the road and quieter. The shingle beach at the end is well worth exploring and it looks as though you could follow it as far as Annalong though it would be slow going. A great spot for watching gannets and terns

    Helen Osborn at 6:50 am
  • Beautiful walk. Hard to know where it ends, if it is where the path seems to end and the rocky beach starts then this is not a 2 mile walk, in total there and back would be 3 miles.

    Couldn’t find the picnic tables in bloody bridge car park.

    Caroline at 3:13 pm
  • County Down

    Distance 0.8 miles

    OS Map Sheet 29

    Terrain Coastal Path

    Nearest Town Newcastle

    Route Shape Linear

    Grid Reference J389271

    Route Type Coastal

    Route Description

    This National Trust path can be accessed from several points in the main car park but the best option is to leave the car park by its northern exit and follow the sea cliff path. Continue along the well-worn track down the hill passing over a small foot bridge. Bear right and continue along the track passing over a few stiles and foot bridges.

    Look out for the ruins of St Mary’s Church along the route. The church is reputed to have been one of the first Christian churches in Northern Ireland. It was at one time referred to as the Ancient Church of Ballagh-a-Neir. This is one of the very few medieval relics of Mourne and all that remains today are the foundations of a nave and a small chancel.

    This scenic, rocky coastline offers great variety in terms of natural heritage – unusual rock formations, rare plants, a variety of birds etc – and it is more easily accessible for those who might find a mountain walk too challenging.

    In the 1800s, this path was used by smugglers, in a bid to escape the watchful eyes of the Customs officers. After landing their cargo on open beaches, under the cover of darkness, the goods were then carried through the mountains on the backs of small ponies (shelties) before being distributed further afield. Smugglers rarely leave traces behind however this track has been aptly named the “Brandy Pad” as it was the main channel through the Mournes for a range of smuggled spirits and goods including wines, tobacco, sugar and silk.

    Point of Interest

    Views of Dundrum Bay, St Mary’s Church, Geology, Natural Heritage

    Getting to the start

    The Bloody Bridge Coastal Path is located on the fringe of the Mourne Mountains, by the Irish Sea, 3 miles south of Newcastle on the A2 Newcastle to Kilkeel Road.

    Public transport

    Translink –

    Dog Policy

    Dogs must be kept on leads


    Carpark, interpretive panels, viewing area, toilets and picnic tables. The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility: Disabled toilets.

    Accessibility Grade

    Grade 5

    • There may not be a formalised path, and variable, single file trails are to be expected.
    • Gradients and cross slope could be expected to be steep and not limited.
    • Obstacles and surface breaks of greater than 75mm measured across the line of the path to be expected.
    • Overhanging branches are possible. Passing places and rest areas may not be formalised or provided.