The mountains of Mourne
are one of the most picturesque mountain areas in Ireland.
Uniquely for a mountain range, most of the summits are
grouped together in an area only seven miles broad.
Both the Mournes northern boundary at Newcastle and
southern at Rostrevor are distinguished by steep slopes
which dominate the coast. The mountain area remains
uninhabited and without roads preserving the quality
of uspoiled wilderness. Miles of winding paths, many
of them old quarry tracks, lead high through the hills
and make it possible to discover and enjoy their spectacular
There are a wide variety of walks for people of all
abilities and interests, within the AONB. If you enjoy
a short stroll with the family, walks are available
at the Forest Parks, Silent Valley, Murlough Nature
Reserve, the coastal path at Bloody Bridge, or along
the beach at Newcastle, Cranfield or Warrenpoint.
If you are more adventurous there are a number of long
distance walking routes available including:
Newcastle Challenge Trail
Drumee Countryside Path (10km)
Burrenreagh Countryside Path (10km)
Mourne Way (Currently under construction. Due
for completion in August 2005)
There are also a variety of popular
mountain walks within the AONB. Walking route cards
detailing 10 Mourne Mountain Walks are available for
purchase from the Trust. These cards give detailed information
on the following routes:
This walk follows a popular route leading
to the summit of Slieve Donard (850m), Northern Ireland's
highest mountain. more
During the 18th Century the coast from
Newcastle south to Greencastle was notorious for smuggling.
The route begins at the junction of Quarter
Road and Head Road (beside Rourke's Park) and ascends
first Round Seefin and then Rocky Mountain before returning
along Dunnywater Track. more
Slieve Binnian is the most massive of
all of the mountains of Mourne and it's high, tor-capped
summit dominates the countryside (known as the Kingdom
of Mourne) isolated between the mountain and the sea.
Ten thousand years ago, long after ice
had disappeared from the lowlands, many patches remained
in hollows high in the hills. Located at 390m in a wilderness
area of the Mournes, the deep blue waters of Lough Shannagh
occupy a corrie at the foot of Carn Mountain. more
Eagle Mountain (638m) is
the highest peak in the Western Mournes but is better
known for its impressive cliff line which faces east
across the valley of the Pigeon Rock River. more
This walk stretches high
through the wooded hillsides that surround Rostrevor
to reach the summit of Slievemartin and a dramatic view
of the fjord-like waters of Carlingford 500m below.
Separate from the more dramatic mountain
scenery of the High (eastern) Mournes, the Central Mournes
extend west from the cliffs of Pigeon Rock and north
from Rostrevor to Deer's Meadow at Spelga Dam. more
In common with most Mourne place-names,
Slieve Meelmore is derived from Irish and translates
as 'the big bare mountain'. more
The Hare's Gap is the most dramatic mountain
pass in the Mournes. Its sharply defined outlines indicate
that ice once passed this way: using the Gap's convenient
north-south alignment to advance and retreat over the
entire Mournes range. more
Walks in the Banbridge Area
Two walks, one a linear walk along a
metalled road which leads to the summit of Slieve Croob,
the other an on-road extension. more
Adders Loanin and The Moat Pad
Follow green lanes and country roads
within the Mourne AONB between Dromara and Rathfriland.
This walk involves some steep climbs. more
Windy Gap Pad
This walk follow a farm lane and public
roads in an area describe as 'on e of the finest undiscovered
landscape in Ireland' in the country between Dromara
and Rathfriland. more
A trip through lanes in the Mourne Area
of Outstanding National Beauty in the countryside between
Dromara and Ballnahinch. This walk of around 5 miles
follows 2 public rights of way and roads in the rolling
Dromara Hills. A walk for clear weather when the views
can be enjoyed. more
In addition there are also a variety of books published
on walking in the Mournes.
Please remember the Mournes are a working countryside
from which people derive their livelihood. Always
park safely, with particular regard for allowing entry
to property. Be friendly and courteous when you meet
landowners and use approved routes. Most upland areas
of the Mournes are not open to the public as of right,
but instead by traditional let. Land below approximately
600 feet (180m) most of the land is privately owned
and is farmed. Traditional access routes which lead
into the Mournes cross land owned by the farming community
and pass along farm lanes and quarry tracks to reach
high ground. In most cases these routes do not have
the status of a public right of way.
It is essential that good relations are maintained
with local people. 'Observing the Mourne Sense' code
will help enormously but walkers, and others who use
the hills for recreation, should be aware of the following
Throughout the Mournes access is permitted on foot only.
Dogs must be kept under control.
Local councils are responsible for the maintenance and recording of public rights of way.
Thoughtless behaviour causes problems for farmers,
local residents and visitors when gates are left open,
cars block lanes and country roads, when rubbish is
left behind and when dogs are not kept under control.
Using a little Mourne sense helps everybody to enjoy
the area with the minimum disruption and danger to wildlife
and livestock. Make sure you:
Don't damage walls or fences and leave gates as you found them
Take your litter home with you
Keep dogs under control at all times
Be careful with fire
Dress appropriately for the environment you are visiting.
Weather conditions can change rapidly in the mountains.
For your own safety:
Plan your route in advance and leave details
of where you are intending to go and what time
you will be back with a responsible person. Don't
forget to let them know that you have returned!
Always carry a 1:25,000 Mourne Map or 1:50,000
Ordnance Survey Map (Sheet 29) and a compass.
Obtain a detailed weather forecast for the
day of your walk.
Dress appropriately with walking boots, waterproofs
and spare clothing in case you get wet. Try to
avoid clothes made of wool or denim as these become
cold and uncomfortable when wet, taking a long
time to dry out.
Carry plenty of food and a warm drink.
Bring a mobile phone, but don't forget that
you may not be able to get a signal in all mountain