Visiting Divis and the Black Mountain with your dog
Dogs are welcome on Divis and the Black Mountain. We know dogs are part of the family, so they can join you on every step of the visitor experience.
Our pawprint rating system
We’ve been working on making it easier for you to find out how dog-friendly your visit will be before you and your four-legged friend arrive. To help with this, we've created a new pawprint rating system and given all the places in our care a rating. You can find this information in the National Trust members’ handbook.
Divis and the Black Mountain is a one pawprint rated place.
Dogs are welcome here, but facilities are limited. They’ll be able to stretch their legs in the car park and walk on lead in the nearby open spaces, depending on the season. Read on to discover exactly where you can take your dog.
Where can my dog go?
Dogs are welcome at Divs and the Black Mountain however we ask that dog owners follow the canine code during their visit. We ask that all visitors keep to the disignated paths as this helps us look after the site and its wildlife.
Dogs are also welcome in the café and water bowls are positioned near the café. Dog waste bins are also provided and we ask that visitors dispose of their dog waste properly. Leaving waster and dog poo bags in situ is harmful to the sites wildlife and various ecosystems.
The Canine Code
We’ve worked with our partner Forthglade to come up with this Canine Code, which helps to make sure everyone can enjoy their day:
- Keep them close: using a short lead helps to keep your dog from disturbing ground-nesting birds and farm animals. It's essential to use a short lead around sheep. But if cattle approach you, it's best to let your dog off the lead, and call them back when it's safe to do so.
- Pick up the poo: please always clear up after your dog. If you can't find a bin nearby, take the poo bags home with you.
- Watch the signs: keep an eye on local signs and notices wherever you're walking. They'll tell you if a beach has a dog ban, for instance, or if a path has been diverted, or if you're in an area where dogs can run off-lead.
- Stay on the ball: remember that not everyone loves dogs, and some people fear them. So make sure your dog doesn't run up to other people, especially children.
Keeping control of your dog
Our definition of close or effective control is:
- Being able to recall your dogs in any situation at the first call
- Being able to clearly see your dog at all times (not just knowing they have gone into the undergrowth or over the crest of the hill). In practice, this means keeping them on a footpath if the surrounding vegetation is too dense for your dog to be visible
- Not allowing them to approach other visitors without their consent
- Having a lead with you to use if you encounter livestock or wildlife, or if you are asked to use one
Is there anywhere dogs can go off-lead?
No. While Divis and the Black Mountain is a vast open space, it is the site of ongoing nature conservation. We ask that dogs remain on leads for a number of reasons.
- Divis and the Black mountain are a mosaic of unique, delicate ecosystems includings bogs and ponds. Dogs off lead can disturb these habitats as well as the special and protected species that call the site home, when allowed to walk off lead.
Cattle graze on Divis and the Black Mountain and can be spooked by dogs off leads. When walking your dog on Divis and the Black Mountain please keep to the paths and avoid getting between cows and their calves or near livestock herds. Don’t put yourself or other visitors at risk by walking close to livestock.
- Not everyone is comfortable with dogs, and not every dog is comfortable around other dogs on or off lead, keeping your dog on a lead means you are in control and it keeps you, your dog and other visitors safe.
Stay safe near livestock
The biggest potential danger on the mountain stems from contact between cattle and dogs. Cattle graze the site between October and May. We ask that for your safety and other visitors, that dogs are kept on leads and visitors remain on designated paths to avoid disturbing cattle.
Pick your path
While we ask that visitors keep their dogs on a lead and under effective control during their visit to Divis and the Black Mountain, the site offers dog walkers ample opportunity to stretch your legs and enjoy a walk with incredible views across Belfast and beyond.
A challenging 3-mile (4.8km) trail that takes through open heath and blanket to the highest peak in the Belfast Hills, Divis Mountain, where you can enjoy breath-taking views over Belfast to Lough Neagh and out towards the Mourne Mountains and Strangford Lough. This trail takes roughly 90 minutes to complete.
A moderate, 4.2 mile (6.7 km) circular route that leads you across open hills where you can enjoy 180-degree views across Belfast and beyond, including the Antrim Plateau to the north, Scotland to the east and Mourne Mountains to the south. This trail takes up to 3 hours to complete.
A gentle, circular 0.9 mile (1.45km) low contour walk. This trail offers views across Lough Neagh towards the Sperrin Mountains and down Collin Valley towards the Mourne Mountains. Starting point is opposite the Long Barn. This trail takes 30 minutes to complete.
Ground nesting birds
If you're walking with your dog between March and July, please look out for restricted dog-walking areas, particularly on heathland sites, when ground-nesting birds raise their young.
Help to look after National Trust places by observing a few simple guidelines during your visit and following the Countryside Code.
Divis and the Black Mountain offers a spectacular viewpoint for walkers seeking panoramic views over Belfast and beyond. Take a look at what things to discover on your visit.
If you’re bringing your dog to the places we care for, here’s information on the Canine Code and pawprint rating system to plan your visit.
After a good dog walk in the fresh air, find a place to sit and relax with your dog in a dog-friendly café.
We've partnered with natural pet food maker Forthglade to create the Dogs Welcome project, helping you and your dog to get the most out of the places in our care.
Discover the best places for a dog walk, from coastal adventures and dramatic mountains to more leisurely walks near you. Plus find information on dog-friendly cafés and read our Canine Code.
With water bowls, hitching posts and plenty of ground to cover, the places in our care aren't just for history-loving hounds. The sandy beaches and woodland trails on offer are a dog-walker's dream. From dog exercise areas to dog-friendly accommodation, discover a slice of canine heaven when visiting with your four-legged friend.