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Visitor looking out to sea from the sand dunes at Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Sweeping along the edge of the North Coast, this two-mile stretch of golden sand is one of Northern Ireland's finest beaches.
A visitor looking out to see at Portstewart Strand | © National Trust/John Millar
Northern Ireland

Portstewart Strand: dune and estuary walk

Step into a different world as you walk through the 6,000 year-old sand dunes at Portstewart Strand, one of Northern Ireland's best beaches. Follow the trail to the river edge at the Bann Estuary to spot colourful wild flowers and butterflies. This is a walk that all the family can enjoy with two miles of golden strand to explore.

Total steps: 6

Total steps: 6

Start point

Portstewart Strand Visitor Centre, OSNI grid ref: C813368

Step 1

Start your walk from the entrance to the strand and make your way to lifebuoy station 10, approximately 1 mile (1.6km) from the entrance .

Step 2

Climb the sand ladder at lifebuoy 10 to leave the beach behind and enjoy the tranquillity of the dunes.

Step 3

You have the choice of two different paths. The one on the right leads you through the kissing gate inside a fenced area where cattle graze from September to March. A small waymarker post will guide you across to the Bann Estuary. You can also choose the path on the right side. Just follow the path along the fence line to the Bann Estuary.

Close up of a purple Bee Orchid
Exotic looking bee orchids mimic other insects to help with pollination | © National Trust Images / Richard Allen

Step 4

No matter which path you've chosen, turn right when you come to the river Bann. You are now walking through an area of salt marsh. Be aware that cattle sometimes graze on the salt marsh.

A child goes rockpooling, and finds a large crab
The limestone ledges off St Helens Duver are one of the best places to go rockpooling | © National Trust / Rob Warburton

Step 5

Follow the path through the salt marsh and you'll come to a kissing gate leading into Crab Bay and around the edge of the dunes.

A wading bird with long legs, brown and white plumage and a ring around its neck wading through muddy saltmarsh
A ringed plover wading through muddy saltmarsh creek at Stiffkey Marshes, Norfolk | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

Step 6

The path brings you back to the beach at lifebuoy 14. From here it's approximately two miles back to step one flowing the tide line .

End point

Portstewart Strand Visitor Centre, OSNI grid ref: C813368

Trail map

Aerial view of Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry
Portstewart Strand: dune and estuary walk map | © National Trust Images/John Millar

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Get in touch

118 Strand Road, Portstewart, County Londonderry, BT55 7PG

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