Farm trail at Castle Ward
Castle Ward, Strangford, Downpatrick, County Down BT30 7LSRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
An excellent trail for spotting wildlife and taking in the stunning scenery of Strangford Lough, Audley's Castle and Farmyard at Castle Ward.
- Bus stop
Start: Shore car park, grid ref: NW677031
Start in the shore car park
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.
Follow the line of the shore trail that leads you around Audley'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.
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.
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.
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.
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 2.5 miles (4 km)
- Time: 1 hour
- OS Map: NI Discoverer Map 21
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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