Castle trail

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

Enjoy the view of the Clock Tower at Castle Ward © National Trust, Castle Ward

Enjoy the view of the Clock Tower 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 Castle trail map, Count Down, Northern Ireland
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Shore car park, grid ref: NW677031

  1. Start in the shore car park.

  2. Follow the shore of Strangford Lough from the farm yard to Audley's Quay

    Show/HideStrangford 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
  3. The trail then leads you around Audley's Castle

    Show/HideAudley's Castle

    The castle dates probably 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
  4. Now follow Audleystown Road, a quiet public road back to the farmyard.

    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. Do you recognize it? It's Winterfell - The first season of Game of Thrones was filmed here.

    Enjoy the view of the Clock Tower at Castle Ward © National Trust, Castle Ward

End: Farmyard

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1.8 miles (3 km)
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • 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

  • Facilities:

    • car park
    • toilets
    • tea room
    • bike hire
    • gift shop
    • book shop

  • Contact us