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A grassy path, with two people on it, leads between trees towards water on the Castle Ward loughside trail at Castle Ward, Northern Ireland
Heading for the water on the Castle Ward loughside trail | © National Trust Images/John Miller
Northern Ireland

Loughside walk at Castle Ward

Overlooking the south shores of Strangford Lough, Castle Ward is one of Northern Ireland’s finest demesnes, or country estates. At its heart lies an unusual Georgian mansion, but there's a lot more to discover. This walk explores the waterside, a ruined castle, woodland, an ornamental lake and follies. In summer see the Old Castle farmyard animals and wildflower meadow, and in winter a range of migrating birds and the resident seals.

Total steps: 6

Total steps: 6

Start point

Old Castle Ward farmyard, Castle Ward, Ballyculter Avenue, County Down, BT30 7LS. Grid ref: J573498.

Step 1

Start at the old farmyard. Note the Tower House, a fortified home built in 1610. It was the Castle Ward estate's main residence before the mansion was built. Follow the blue trail down towards the water and boathouse through a large stone gateway.

Step 2

The path leads along the waterfront, passing boathouses and small quays, before reaching Audley's Wood. Enjoy beautiful views across to Portaferry.

Step 3

At the edge of the wood, a path on the left takes you on a short detour up the 16th-century Audley's Castle. Climb to the top for a great panorama across the estate and Castle Ward Bay.

Step 4

Continue walking along the loughside then turn left away from the water and through Audley's Wood, home to badgers and lots of small birds.

Step 5

When the path exits the woodland, head right on a track, which soon leads to a gate in a stone wall. Emerge through this gate in to the parkland surrounding Temple Water. The temple itself is perched up on your right. You pass a Victorian walled garden, currently used to grow wild flowers.

Step 6

Follow the path away from the lake along a tree-lined avenue back to the farmyard. In summer, note the wildflower meadow on your left. A series of paths lead to the mansion house, woodland and playgrounds.

End point

Old Castle Ward farmyard, Castle Ward, Ballyculter Avenue, County Down, BT30 7LS. Grid ref: J573498.

Trail map

Castle Ward loughside walk map
Castle Ward loughside walk map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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The Hoof Trail is a 7.5-mile route through woodland and along the shore of Strangford Lough with views of Audley's Castle and the Castle Ward Demesne.

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Castle Ward Boundary Trail 

A challenging eight-mile trail that takes in some of the best sights around Castle Ward, from Audley's Castle to the Deer Park.

DistanceMiles: 8 (km: 12.8)

Get in touch

Strangford, Downpatrick, County Down, BT30 7BA

Our partners

Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

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