Windy Gap Pad
The Windy Gap is a well know view point, off the Slievenaboley Road, in the Dromara Hills. The Windy Gap Pad is a rough farm track of just under a mile in length which joins the Slievenaboley and Legananny Roads.
The Dromara Hills, part of the Mourne and Slieve Croob Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are a compact area of hill, moorland and farms in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains.
Distance 3.8 miles
OS Map 20
Terrain Rough farm track & country roads
Nearest Town Leitrim
Route Shape Linear
Grid Reference J274431
Route Type Hill
Leave the Windy Gap Car Park on the Slievenaboley Road, and turn left into the road & walk for a short distance down hill. Take the first lane to the right – marked with a footpath sign – this is a public right of way known as the ‘Windy Gap Pad’. Keep on the path to meet a gate and stile as you approach Toopagh Rock. Once over the stile if you look to the left of the path you will see the lay-by and track leading to Finnis Souterrain, locally known as ‘Binder’s Cove’ in the fields below.
Keep on the path which skirts Toopagh Rock – continue along this fenced path to meet a pair of timber kissing gates across the route. Passing through the kissing gates continue along the right of way to the final gate and stile. Cross the stile and continue to a path junction. Take a L to stay on the public right of way walking towards the Legananny Road. Follow the lane to its end and either retrace steps to the starting point or lengthen the walk by following the directions below.
The track is in occasional agricultural use so be prepared to give way to agricultural vehicles and animals along the track.
Slievenaboley – the hill of the booley – gained its name from the once common practice in Ireland for cattle to be led up into the mountains during the summer to make use of fresh pasture which is not available at other times of the year. This custom was known as booleying, from Irish buaile or cow-fold.
Alternatively, lengthen your walk by turning right into the Legananny Road continuing to its junction with Dolmen Road and visiting Legananny Dolmen a beautiful, sculptural Portal Tomb which dates from sometime around the arrival of the first farmers in Ireland around 4000 BC. It marks an early burial place and looks towards the Mourne Mountains.
From here either return to your starting point or on returning to the junction of Dolmen Road with Legananny Road turn L and continue to its junction with Legananny Hall Road – taking a R into this road. Continue to its junction with the Slievenaboley/Dromara Road turning R to walk up the very steep hill to return to the Windy Gap car park (approx. 3.5 miles in total). This walk can be lengthened by crossing over the road at this junction and continuing into the Lighthouse Road and following the Adders Loanin’ and The Moat Pad’ (giving a walk of around 9.25 miles in total) – see ‘Loopin the Loanin’ download on site.
Finnis Souterrain is located a short distance to the North of the Windy Gap Car Park, take a left out of the car park down the steep hill of Slievenaboley Road – looking out for the first road to the right – a small country road – the Carrigagh Road.
Look out for the small lay-by and a path on the right a short distance from the Slievenaboley Road end. This scheduled historic monument is located along a path in the middle of a field.
It dates from around the 9th century AD and is an interesting underground site comprising one main passage and 2 side passages. It is lit by solar lighting.
The souterrain is a confined space which requires bending and stooping to enter. Prone to flooding/standing water during periods of heavy rain. Normally open at all times.
Great views and ancient monuments. The path is inclined to live up to its name but the views across the surrounding countryside are remarkable.
The Windy Gap Car Park and Viewpoint is located off the B7 Rathfriland to Dromara Road. It is located along the Slievenaboley Road approximately 5.4 miles SW of Dromara and approximately 2.6 miles north of Leitrim village. The Slievenaboley Road climbs from the village of Leitrim steeply to its summit and then drops down towards the B7. Coming from the B7 follow the signs for Legananny Dolmen/Finnis Souterrain and look for the car park on the right on the top of the hill. Coming from Leitrim follow the signs for Finnis Souterrain to the car park at top of hill.
Dogs must be kept on leads
Windy Car park at starting point
Turnip House – Teashop and Craft
64 Dromara Road, Ballyward, Castlewellan, Co. Down, BT31 9UF.
t: 028 4065 0848
Shop and pubs in Leitrim village.