Farm trail at Castle Ward

Castle Ward, Strangford, Downpatrick, County Down BT30 7LS

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Enjoy the views at Strangford Lough © National Trust, Castle Ward

Enjoy the views at Strangford Lough

The 15th-century Audley's Castle on Strangford Lough © Craig McCoy

The 15th-century Audley's Castle on Strangford Lough

View through to the farmyard at Castle Ward © National Trust, Castle Ward

View through to the farmyard at Castle Ward

Route overview

An excellent trail for spotting wildlife and taking in the stunning scenery of Strangford Lough, Audley's Castle and Farmyard at Castle Ward.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Castle Ward Farm trail map, County Down, Northern Ireland
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Shore car park, grid ref: NW677031

  1. Start in the shore car park

    Show/HideStrangford Lough

    Strangford Lough is a large sea lough or inlet in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is separated from the Irish Sea by the Ards Peninsula. The name Strangford is derived from Old Norse: Strangr-fjërðr meaning 'strong fjord'; describing the fast-flowing narrows at its mouth.

    Enjoy the views at Strangford Lough © National Trust, Castle Ward
  2. Follow the line of the shore trail that leads you around Audley's Castle

    Show/HideAudley's Castle

    The castle probably dates from around the 15th century, but the early history is unknown. The castle is named after its late 16th century owners, the Audleys, an Anglo-Norman family who held land in the area in the 13th-century, although it is not known if they built the castle. It was sold, with the surrounding estate, to the Ward family in 1646 and used in 1738 as an eye-catching focus of the long vista along Castle Ward's artificial lake, Temple Water.

    The 15th-century Audley's Castle on Strangford Lough © Craig McCoy
  3. On reaching the Audleystown Road, cross the road and head through mature woodlands. This is a slow zone area, it then leads out into farmland known as West Park, passing the back of the old walled garden.

  4. The trail then leads along an old farm track, connecting with the last section which winds through thick laurel before returning to the shore car park.

    Show/HideOld Castle Ward

    Built in the late 16th or early 17th-century by Nicholas Ward, Old Castle Ward is a 3-storey tower house built of split stone rubble with sandstone dressings. At present Old Castle Ward is part of a 19th-century farm with a saw mill belonging to the estate.

    View through to the farmyard at Castle Ward © National Trust, Castle Ward

End: Farmyard

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 2.5 miles (4 km)
  • Time: 1 hour
  • OS Map: NI Discoverer Map 21
  • Terrain:

    Wide and flat during the first 0.6 miles (1km) then through mature deciduous woodlands. This part of the trail has some steeper sections and gates to go through.

  • How to get here:

    By boat: ferry from Portaferry

    By bus: Ulsterbus 16E, Downpatrick to Strangford

    By car: 7 miles (11.3km) north-east of Downpatrick, 1 mile (1.6km) from Strangford on A25

     

     

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