Red Trail

Walking trail

Welcome to the Red Trail on the Mount Stewart estate. Mount Stewart gardens were acquired by National Trust in 1957, with the house following in 1977; the wider estate was acquired in 2014, bringing the total area to just under 1000 acres. The first areas that have been opened to visitors incorporates the Red, Blue, and Yellow Trails. The Red trail is the main circular walk, and loops through a mixture of woodland and farmland. There are a number of points of interest along the walk, including working farmland, the ruins of a folly, and water features. Red squirrels may be seen in the trees, or running along the ground to get into a tree. The best times to walk the red trail are early in the morning or late afternoon, especially in Autumn.

Additional information

Good for dog walkers (on leads), and walking with families. Trails are uneven and steep in places; they may be muddy at certain times of the year. Further information and trail maps are available at the trail head booth.

Explore the Demesne Walks at Mount Stewart


A map of the red trail at Mount Stewart


Trail head


Starting at the Trail Head (Grid Reference: J556694), walk until the path forks in two. A finger post will show two possible Red Trails. To go up to the Temple of the Winds, take the left-hand stone trail route; this is a steep 470m hill climb to the Temple, and a steep descent on the other side. The view from the top is worth the climb. In spring, there are small clusters of bluebells on the top of the hill; there are blue, white and pink varieties present there. To stay on a level path, take the right-most grassed route; you will be avoiding the Temple of the Winds on this route. This 400m long route has a wide array of plants, including primroses. Both routes will converge at the bottom of the hill, and will continue to a small stone bridge. On both routes, red squirrels may be seen in the trees, or running along the ground to get into a tree. Common spotted orchids are present in a patch of grass beside a blue gate before the stone bridge.


As indicated on finger post, continue on the stone trail to the left and continue on the trail until the meadow for approx. 500m. Along this trail, you will be walking through woodland, with an open glade part way along. During summer months, the glade and along the sunny edge of the burn (stream) is alive with butterflies .


As you pass out of the woodland and through the gateway, follow the cut grass path through the meadow until you come to a wooden gate. During summer, you may see butterflies, such as Ringlets, Small Whites, and Meadow Browns, flying around the flowers. Other invertebrates, like moths, bees and beetles, may also be seen in this area. Buzzards may be seen flying over the hills year-round, along with various different bird species during the year.


After passing through the wooden gate follow the farm lane which turns to the left. (At this point you can take an optional side path to the right into the Glen woodland and up to the ruins of a folly building as indicated on finger posts). Continue on the farm lane for about 500m, until you get to a wooden pedestrian gate and an agricultural gate with the old piggery buildings on your right.


As indicated on the fingerposts, go through the wooden gate, and follow the woodchip trail for approx. 100m to the top of the hill. This is moderately steep and the path winds its way up into ‘New Hill’, there are two steps. In May/June, the hill is covered in Bluebells.


At the top of the hill, turn right on the wood chip trail and continue down the hill for approx. 350m. The hill is very gradual, and becomes very steep just before re-joining the main stone trail just above the trail head.


Turn right when you join the stone trail, and continue for 100m until you reach the Trail Head (end of the trail, grid reference: J556694).


Trail head

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Red Trail


The terrain underfoot is stone, woodchip, and natural earth; there is a single but very steep incline at the start of the trail and two steps towards the end. At certain times of the year, the trail will be slippery or muddy in places. Keep to the paths to avoid disturbance to the wildlife.

Red Trail

Contact us

Tel: (028) 4278 8387


Red Trail

How to get here

Trail Head Mount Stewart Portaferry Road Newtownards County Down BT22 2AD
By train

Bangor 10 miles

By road

Newtownards to Portaferry Road, A20, 15 miles south-east of Belfast. If you are using a SatNav, it may lead you to the back gate, which is not accessible to the public. Mount Stewart is on the Portaferry Road heading towards Greyabbey - stay on the Portaferry Road, where Mount Stewart is clearly visible.

By bus

Belfast to Portaferry, alight at gates. See Translink NI website for bus departure and arrival times:

Red Trail

Facilities and access

  • Visitor parking available a short distance from the trail head
  • Toilets (including disabled toilets) available at the Temple of the Winds and at the end of the car park
  • Tea-Room next to the reception area
  • Gift shop next to the reception area