Downhill Demesne walk
Mussenden Road, Castlerock, Co. Londonderry BT51 4RPRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
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.
- Bus stop
Start: Bishop's Gate, grid ref: C761354
Start at Bishops Gate entrance to the Demesne and enter into the Bishops Gate Gardens.
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.
Take the right track and pass through a relict arboretum with many rare tree species.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
- Telephone: 028 7084 8728
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/downhill-demesne-and-hezlett-house/