Image of horse-riding

Horse riding

Castle Ward Hoof Trail

Horse riding

This trail is designed specifically for use by horse riders and must be used in a clockwise direction only.

Woman riding her horse on the Hoof Trail at Castle Ward
Take your horse for a walk on the Hoof Trail National Trust


Route map for the Castle Ward Hoof Trail
Land and Property Services permit no. 120099 © Crown Copyright (2013) (Northern Ireland)


Horse car park, OSNI grid ref: NW672027


Leave the car park and head through farmland on a short two-way section before turning right onto Colonel's Walk. This wide track meanders through woodland for several miles before a single track section that leads through mature trees and the farmland of Tullyratty.


Descending to Downpatrick Avenue, there are several places with steep drop-offs to the side. After the short road section, horses must follow way-markers keeping left on entering Mallard Plantation and continuing through woodland. At the top of the woodland, pass through the gate and merge into a multi-use trail with cyclists and walkers approaching.


The trail then follows the line of the boundary wall through the West Park, with stunning views across Strangford Lough and Castle Ward Demesne.

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At the end of this long section, turn left behind the walled garden before entering into woodland. This is a slow zone area.


On reaching the Audleystown Road take care crossing the road before heading towards Audley's Castle, through Audley's Wood and then along the shore of Strangford Lough.

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On reaching the farmyard gates turn left along the shore and follow the grassy track between the boundary wall and the lough.

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The trail then leads back into the estate through the arched gateway at Coal Quay. Turn left and follow inside the boundary wall until reaching Strangford Avenue close to the caravan park.

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Follow the uphill path known as The Screen to reach Ballyculter Gate Lodge, and then follow the historic Colonel's Walk leading along the boundary wall once more.


A short two-way section through farmland leads back to the horse car park.


Horse car park

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Castle Ward Hoof Trail


This trail has an even surface throughout and is narrow in places, with some steeper gradients and numerous gateways. Be aware that as this trail crosses farmland you may encounter livestock.

Castle Ward Hoof Trail

Contact us

Telephone: 028 4488 1204


Castle Ward Hoof Trail

How to get here

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

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

By ferry

Ferry from Portaferry.

By bus
Ulsterbus 16E, Downpatrick to Strangford.
Castle Ward Hoof Trail

Facilities and access

  • None