Salt Island bothy

The Salt Island bothy can accommodate around 8 people sleeping inside © Craig McCoy

The Salt Island bothy can accommodate around 8 people sleeping inside

Salt Island bothy provides a fantastic overnight camping experience for groups.

The bothy is located on Salt Island in Strangford Lough just south of Killyleagh. It is a bunkhouse which provides basic shelter, accommodation and camping facilities. It is very popular with canoeists, boat users, youth groups and families. 

Salt Island is one of 11 canoe access points on the circular Strangford Lough Canoe Trail. The canoe trail was officially launched at the bothy on 2 July 2008.

Bothy facilities

The bothy can accommodate up to 8 people sleeping inside and offers running mains water, toilets, two outdoor BBQs and a lean-to area for hanging wet gear etc. There are some movable wooden platforms which can be slept on, but no mattresses or bedding. There is a small table and some chairs, a wood burning stove, a kitchen area with sink but no cooker. Users must bring their own means of cooking such as a Trangia or gas stove, along with any fire wood needed.

Although the National Trust has donated small amounts of kitchen utensils and crockery, we do not guarantee that these will be provided. To avoid disappointment, all users are advised to bring everything they think they will need during their stay, including toilet paper, washing up liquid, cooking pots, matches, candles etc. Many past users have donated such items on departure. Any additional donations would be gratefully received.

No electricity is available at the bothy, however, you are welcome to bring your own portable generator to provide power to the existing electrical fittings and fixtures.


The bothy is located on the South Eastern side of the island near the old jetty. The jetty is in disrepair and not safe for use, however, the area immediately beside the jetty is free from boulders, which allows small boats to land and be hauled up onto the beach. The area in front of the bothy is shallow and becomes mud flats at low tide which has the potential to strand boats until the tide returns. The beach at the North West bay is accessible at all states of tide and is only a few minutes walk to the bothy. There is no jetty here, so if you arrive on a larger boat you may still have to step into shallow water or anchor and row ashore in a tender. The canoe trail guide can be referred to for further advice on tides.

Bookings and charges

All bookings for the bothy are coordinated through our booking form (located to the right of this page) or Mount Stewart reception (Tel 028 4278 8387). The charges, which go towards running, administration and maintenance costs, must be paid in full before key collection. Charges are as follows:     

  • £6 per person per night sharing
  • £60 for exclusive use of the bothy


A key is required for the bothy shutters and side door. After booking and payment, it can be collected from one of the following locations during opening hours:

  • Castle Ward, Strangford
  • Rowallane House, Saintfield
  • Murlough National Nature Reserve, Dundrum
  • Killyleagh Outdoor Education Centre
  • House of Sport, Upper Malone Road, Belfast
  • Mount Stewart, Portaferry Road, Newtownards

At the time of booking, please tell the Mount Stewart staff which location you choose to collect the keys from. That particular location will then be given your name and will know to expect your call. You will not be able to collect a key from one of the other locations unless this has first been agreed with Mount Stewart.

Book your stay

To book your stay at the Salt Island bothy, please contact us.