Shore 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

Audley’s Castle © Craig McCoy

Audley’s Castle

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.

Route details

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

Castle Ward Shore 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 shore of Strangford Lough from the farmyard to Audley's Quay.

    Show/HideAudley's Castle

    The castle is probably dated 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.

    Audley’s Castle © Craig McCoy
  3. On reaching Audley's Quay turn and retrace your steps back to the farmyard.

    Show/HideOld Castle Ward

    The castle is probably dated 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. 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: Easy
  • Distance: 1.2 miles (2km)
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • OS Map: NI Discoverer Map 21
  • Terrain:

    Wide and flat. Accessible to everyone, the trail has no physical barriers.

  • 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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