Silent Valley Challenge Trail

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Walk Route

Silent Valley Challenge Trail

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    County Down

    Distance 1.6 miles

    OS Map 29

    Terrain Easy well laid paths

    Nearest Town Kilkeel

    Route Shape Circular

    Grid Reference J306224

    Route Type Parkland & Grassland

    Route Description

    Stone way-markers are in place to help guide you. Follow the blue arrows for the Challenge Trail. From the main car park, follow the sign for the Nature Trail until you reach a fork. Take the trail to the right hand side, crossing the bridge over the Kilkeel River. When you come to a sign for Watertown, take the steps up onto the road and turn left, continuing until you reach a junction. At this point you can see the concrete footings of some of the Watertown Houses (this temporary settlement was constructed in 1923 to accommodate the dam builders). Follow the stone way-markers which lead you initially to the right and then left, as you climb the slope up to the Mourne Wall. The Challenge Trail veers off to the right in the direction of the Silent Valley reservoir. Enjoy the views across the dam from the viewpoint area. Follow the trail, making your way downhill again towards the reservoir embankment. Way-markers guide you through the woodland area, past Sally Lough and back to the main car park.

    Point of Interest

    Silent Valley reservoir, Watertown, Mourne wall, granite quarry and natural heritage

    Getting to the start

    The route begins in the main car park reached through the gates on the Head Road on the south side of the Mournes. The Silent Valley is sign posted for drivers travelling south from Newcastle and north from Kilkeel. There is an entrance fee.

    Public transport

    During the summer months, Translink operate the Mourne Rambler Service- a circular route that stops at the gates of the Silent Valley. More information can be found on the Translink website.

    Dog Policy

    Must be kept on a lead.


    Toilets and refreshments available during summer months and public holidays at Silent Valley restaurant and information centre or in nearby Kilkeel. Disabled parking and toilets

    Accessibility Grade

    Grade 4

    • The path may not be hard and firm in all weathers with loose stones (not bigger than 10cm) with occasional tree roots and pot holes and will be at least 80cm wide for its entire length.
    • The path gradients and cross slopes will be greater than 6°.
    • Obstacles such as steps or stiles are to be expected and surface breaks may be larger 75mm in width.
    • There will be a clear head height of greater than 2.10m for the entire length of the route.
    • Passing places and rest areas may not be formalised or provided.