Downhill Demesne walk

Mussenden Road, Castlerock, Co. Londonderry BT51 4RP

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Spectactular blooms in the bog garden at Bishop's Gate © National Trust/Marleen de Kramer

Spectactular blooms in the bog garden at Bishop's Gate

Don't miss the inviting trails of the Black Glen © National Trust/Marleen de Kramer

Don't miss the inviting trails of the Black Glen

A view back in the past - Downhill Palace in 1803 © National Trust

A view back in the past - Downhill Palace in 1803

See the Mussenden Temple perched on the cliff-edge © Joe Cornish

See the Mussenden Temple perched on the cliff-edge

Route overview

Come and enjoy a leisurely stroll around the stunning Downhill Demesne with its beautiful sheltered gardens and cliff walks. Visit the apple orchard in the walled garden, and the beautiful 18th-century folly, Mussenden Temple, originally inspired by the Tivoli Temple of Vesta.

Route details

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

Route map of the Downhill demesne walk
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Bishop's Gate, grid ref: C761354

  1. Start at Bishops Gate entrance to the Demesne and enter into the Bishops Gate Gardens.

    Show/HideBishop's Gate Garden

    The garden had a major facelift in the last two years including removal of shrub and clearance of the flower beds. A lot of time and work has been invested in the Bog Garden especially. Now you can enjoy lovely orchids and stunning irises once more.

    Spectactular blooms in the bog garden at Bishop's Gate © National Trust/Marleen de Kramer
  2. Take the right track and pass through a relict arboretum with many rare tree species.

    Show/HideThe Black Glen

    At the bottom of the Black Glen lies a pond which was created in the 1840s by excavation and construction of a dam at the northern end. It was stocked with fish and was intended both as ornamental feature and a source of food.

    Don't miss the inviting trails of the Black Glen © National Trust/Marleen de Kramer
  3. Follow signs for Mussenden Temple and you will soon leave the trees behind to enter an area of open grassland with views of the majestic ruins of Downhill House.

    Show/HideDownhill ruins

    Once an elegant mansion, filled with treasures from all over Europe including paintings by Rubens, Raphael and Tintoretto. A disastrous fire destroyed most of the interior in 1851. The house was rebuilt and lived in until the 1940s but then it was sold and fell into disrepair.

    A view back in the past - Downhill Palace in 1803 © National Trust
  4. You can turn left towards the Walled Garden or explore the ruin, either way the paths will lead you towards Mussenden Temple, perched on the cliff edge. From here you can enjoy dramatic views of the Inishowen Peninsula.

    Show/HideMussenden Temple

    It is said that it was once possible to drive a horse and carriage around the temple but the forces of nature have brought it closer to the edge over the years.

    See the Mussenden Temple perched on the cliff-edge © Joe Cornish
  5. Follow the path along the cliff towards the East and you will come to a small collection of trees; take the stile on the left side. Steps lead you down to the pond and back to Bishops Garden.

End: Bishop's Gate, grid ref: C761354

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 2 miles (3.2km)
  • Time: 2 hours
  • OS Map: NI Discover 04
  • Terrain:

    Gravel paths, mown grass tracks, some steep steps. Dogs are welcome.

  • How to get here:

    By bike: The National Cycling Network 93 borders the property at Bishop's Gate

    By bus: Ulsterbus 234 from Coleraine to Derry/Londonderry, alight crossroads, a few minutes walk

    By car: 7 miles (11.2km) from Coleraine on the A2 towards Castlerock; also part of the Causeway Coastal Route. Limited car parking space at Bishop's Gate, main car park 500yds (475m) past Bishop's Gate at Lion's Gate

     

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