Autumn and winter in County Down

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Get active this autumn and winter. County Down boasts a fabulously rich array of walks - from gentle strolls around Mount Stewart lake to farmland trails at Castle Ward.

Castle Ward

Come and explore the truly beautiful 332 hectare (820 acre) walled demesne along multi-purpose trails for walking, cycling and horse riding. A day spent in the exotic garden and picturesque farmyard will unlock your imagination through family history, leisure pursuits, events and industrial heritage.

Choose from:

  • Shore Trail 1.2 miles (2km)
  • Castle Trail 1.8 miles (3km)
  • Farm Trail 2.5 miles (4km)
  • Boundary Trail 8 miles (13km)
  • Hoof Trail 7.5 miles (12km)

There's an abundance of wildlife to be seen throughout the trails. Along the shore look out for common seals, wildfowl and wading birds, particularly during the winter months. Throughout the woodlands look out for pine martens, buzzards, nesting herons and badgers at dawn and dusk.

Mount Stewart

This is one of the most unique and unusual gardens in the Trust’s ownership, enjoying the mild climate of the Ards Peninsula. The lake is particularly beautiful in the autumn, surrounded by gorgeous red and gold foliage. Mount Stewart has beautiful walks, including the lake walk, 0.6 miles (1km) and the red squirrel trail, 1.1 miles (1.7km).

For those who are feeling more energetic, download the PDF for a workout in the outdoor gym.

Rowallane Garden

Situated in the drumlin landscape of Co Down on the outskirts of Saintfield, the rugged landscape of Rowallane Garden is a plantsman’s dream and is bursting with colourful plant collections. Keen walkers can now enjoy new trails through the demesne.

The Woodland Walk, 0.9 miles (1.4km), takes you into the tranquil wooded garden perimeter, planted around 20 years ago to shelter the formal garden. It provides glimpses of the green farmland fields and skirts the famous Rock Garden Wood. The Farmland Trail, 1.7 miles (2.7km), leads you to the summit of Trio Hill with fabulous views over three townlands and across to the Mourne Mountains. Looking down on the display of orange, reds and golds of autumnal foliage is breathtaking. From the summit the trail takes you via an ancient Rath (550-1100AD) through the fields and back to rejoin the Woodland Walk.

For further information on local walks visit (external link).