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Exploring Divis and the Black Mountain

Visitors walking the Ridge Trail at Divis and the Black Mountain
Walk along the Ridge Trail at Divis and the Black Mountain | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Divis and the Black Mountain offers a spectacular viewpoint for walkers seeking panoramic views over Belfast and beyond. Discover what to look out for, how to keep safe on your visit and important advice on helping us look after this beautiful space.

Countryside Code top tips

  1. Please camp considerably: Overnight stays are not allowed. Please use designated campsites if you’d like to stay the night
  2. Leave barbecues at home: No fires please. You’re welcome to have a picnic but please don’t have a barbecue.
  3. Keep to the path: Protect the places you love. Help prevent lasting damage by staying on the paths.
  4. Leave no trace: Help us care for these special places by leaving them as you find them.

A diverse habitat

A significant site for biodiversity with meadow pipits, stonechats, skylarks, snipes, while common kestrels and ravens feed in the area. On a walk through this incredible green space you may encounter an Irish hare. A number of species found here in the mountains are identified as Northern Ireland Priority Species.

Blanket bog and wet heath on Divis

The mosaic of grassland, heath and bog on the upper slopes of Divis and the Black Mountain is home to a rich and diverse collection of flora. One of the most important components of the blanket bog is sphagnum moss.

This amazing plant can hold up to 20 times its own weight in water, and is the building block for peat. The heath is made up mainly of heather species, but a closer look reveals some interesting flora such as the heath spotted orchid, marsh lousewort and devil’s-bit scabious.

Family on a walk at Divis and the Black Mountain County Antrim
Cattle grazing at Divis Black Mountain, County Antrim | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Stick to the paths

Divis is home to a variety of delicate ecosystems and protected species, with cattle grazing on site at from October to May. Help us look after these habitats, keep yourself and other visitors safe by keeping to the designated paths.

Walking safely near livestock

Grazing cattle play an important role in maintaining the diverse range of flora and fauna that thrive on Divis and the Black Mountain. We work closely with our local tenant farmers who have many years of experience managing cattle on the mountain.

Keeping safe around cattle on Divis and the Black Mountain:

  • Avoid getting between cows and their calves.
  • Be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you.
  • Move quickly and quietly and, if possible, walk around the herd.
  • Don’t hang onto your dog if you feel threatened by cattle – let the lead go as the cattle will chase the dog and not you.
  • Don’t put yourself at risk by walking close to cattle.
  • Don’t panic or run – most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow just walk on quietly.
  • Let a member of staff know about any problems you experience.

A docile breed

We have selected breeds which are traditionally more docile. During the most sensitive times of year for cattle – breeding and rearing season - we keep the cattle in dedicated enclosures away from public trails.

The biggest potential danger on the mountain stems from contact between cattle and dogs. Cattle will become agitated and possibly aggressive if they perceive a threat to their young. To mitigate against this, dogs should be kept on leads. If cattle do become aggressive towards walkers with dogs, the dog should be let off the lead to reduce the danger to its owner.

Cycling and mountain biking

Please stay on the tarmac paths when you are cycling up and down the mountain. We ask that cyclists remain aware of their surroundings, including other visitors and dogs.

Takeaway coffee cup and brownie in the cafe at Divis and the Black Mountain, near Belfast, County Antrim
Sit in or take-away, the choice is yours. | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

Eating and drinking on the mountain

Visitors can sit in and enjoy hot drinks and traybakes from the café or takeaway and enjoy along their walk. Please dispose of your rubbish responsibly as this can be a hazard to wildlife and animals. Do not use disposable barbecues as there is a risk of grass fires starting, especially in the summer, and is also a hazard to livestock.

Thank you for visiting responsibly

We appreciate you playing your part in keeping Divis and the Black Mountain a safe, litter free and beautiful natural environment for everyone to enjoy by following these guidelines.

If you would like to support the ongoing conservation of this special place there are a number of ways you can do this. The easiest way is through "Text to Donate".

You can also volunteer with us and get hands on in caring for Divis and the Black Mountain.

View towards the peak of Divis mountain, near Belfast in Northern Ireland

Discover more at Divis and the Black Mountain

Find out how to get to Divis and the Black Mountain, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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