Walking trail

Giant's Ring trail at Minnowburn

Walking trail

Take a relaxing walk from the river, rising gently through woodland, farmland and garden to the ancient earth henge of the Giant's Ring.

An easy circular walk through woodlands and rolling meadows

Starting and ending at Minnowburn car park, the walk takes in the area's varied landscape and historic points of interest.

The Giant's Ring path, Minnowburn


Map route for Minnowburn Giant's Ring trail


Minnowburn car park, OSNI grid ref: J327685


From the car park, follow the Lagan riverbank path upstream. After about 656 feet (200m), take the first path you come to on the left-hand side.

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Lagan riverside at Minnowburn, County Down


Follow this path, cross the Edenderry Road and continue on with the mature woodland on your left. You'll enter young, broadleaved woodland. Carry on until you reach the Ballynahatty Road. Cross the road and take the path opposite.

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Follow the path which has fields on either side for about half a mile (1 kilometre), until you reach the Giant's Ring. After exploring the Ring, make your way out through the gate at the opposite side from which you arrived. Pass through the car park and carry on down the avenue until you reach the road.

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Cross the road, taking care to watch out for traffic, and climb over the stile opposite. You're now in the Sandpit Field, a marvellous natural amphitheatre that was carved by retreating glaciers during the last Ice Age. Follow the track around the top of the big pit until you come to a stile beside a road.

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Climb over the stile and cross the road. Go through the pedestrian gate opposite, follow the path through a second gate and continue on the old tarmac path up Terrace Hill. This path used to be the main avenue to Terrace Hill house, in spring the bank on the left is filled with daffodils and bluebells. Carry on until you reach the garden. Once you've explored this magical place go back the way you came and take the path on the left, leading downhill through a young woodland.

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Follow the path until you reach the Minnowburn river; here you'll walk along the banks of the river downstream until you reach Minnowburn Bridge and the car park beyond.

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Minnowburn car park, OSNI grid ref: J324685

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Giant's Ring trail at Minnowburn


The route includes uneven surfaces, steps and paths composed of mainly gravel, some grass and some paved surfaces. Some areas can be slippery when wet. The walk crosses agricultural land and you may encounter grazing animals.

Dogs welcome, but please keep under control when walking through the Sandpit Field, due to cattle grazing nearby.

Giant's Ring trail at Minnowburn

Contact us

Giant's Ring trail at Minnowburn

How to get here

Minnowburn Car Park, Edenderry Road, Belfast, BT8 8LD
By road

From the A55 Malone/Milltown Road, in south Belfast, at Shaw's Bridge, turn off onto the Ballylesson Road, following the brown signs to the car park.

From Lisburn, on the B23 Hillhall/Ballylesson Road, take the first left fork signposted 'Giant's Ring', then straight on, turning left onto the Edenderry Road after about 1 mile, following the brown signs to the car park.

By foot

From Shaw's Bridge or the Lagan towpath, cross over to the south side of the river and look for the National Trust signs. Follow the riverside path over the bridge to the car park.

By bus

From the Europa Buscentre in the centre of Belfast, take either routes 13D or 513 and stop on the Malone/Milltown Road near Shaw's Bridge and follow the walking directions from there.

By bicycle

From National Cycle Network Route 9, cross over to the south side of the river at Shaw's Bridge or the Gilchrist Bridge and look for the National Trust signs and continue on the riverside path to the car park.

Giant's Ring trail at Minnowburn

Facilities and access

  • Free parking at Minnowburn Car Park, Edenderry Road (also suitable for coaches), Shaw's Bridge Car Park on the A55 (not National Trust) and Giant's Ring Car Park, Giant's Ring Road (not National Trust)
  • The nearest toilets are in Malone House, across the River Lagan via Shaw's bridge. Owned and managed by Belfast City Council, they are open most days between 9am - 5pm
  • Refreshments available from Piccolo Mondo coffee and pizza van in Minnowburn Car Park every day except Monday
  • Dogs welcome. Visitors are asked to keep their dogs on a lead, particularly when entering fields where livestock are grazing
  • Picnic tables in Terrace Hill garden
  • Terrace Hill House is in private ownership and is not open to the public