Best Walks in Northern Ireland Revealed (WalkNI Awards 2019)

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WalkNI announce who has been named the top walks in Northern Ireland

Walkers across Northern Ireland have named their top walks in Northern Ireland in the annual WalkNI Awards sponsored by Lighthouse Clothing

When it comes to finding the best walks in Northern Ireland a good start are those highly recommended by other walkers. Throughout November and December 2019 over 2,700 walkers voted for their favourite walks across 8 categories. Competition was fierce with some category winners being separated by as little as 5 votes! Check out who won below;

Favourite Walking Destination

The Mourne Mountains have officially been named ‘Northern Ireland’s favourite Walking Destination’ for the fourth year running. Whether you are looking a forest walk, low level mountain walk or to explore Northern Ireland’s highest mountain this walking destination has something for everyone.

Best Bucket List Walk in Northern Ireland 

Looking for that must do walk in Northern Ireland? Northern Ireland’s highest peak Slieve Donard has been crowned ‘Northern Ireland’s Best Bucket List Walk’. Offering spectacular 360 degree views it’s easy to see why.When it comes to exploring this mountain there are a number of different ways to reach the summit: Slieve Donard (via Glen River) or Slieve Donard from Bloody Bridge.

Second and third place in this category went to the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail in Co. Fermanagh and the Giant’s Causeway in Co. Antrim.

Favourite Family Friendly Walk with Natural Adventure Play

Find the perfect family adventure in Castlewellan Forest Park, Co. Down. The forest park boasts a range of different trails so you can pick a walk that suits your family perfectly. We recommend following the lakeside trail with an optional diversion via the Moorish Tower. After a day exploring the trails, spend some time navigating through one of Ireland’s largest mazes or interacting with the natural play pieces in ‘Animal Wood’.

Second and third place in this category went to The Giant’s Lair, Slieve Gullion in Co. Armagh and Montalto Estate in Co. Down.

Favourite Walk in the Mournes AONB

Spending a weekend in the Mournes AONB? Make sure you add a walk along the Tollymore Forest Park – River Trail to your list. Highlights of this walk include the enchanting moss covered hermitage and stepping stones leading across the river.

Best Community Walking Trail

With over a quarter of the votes Connswater Community Greenway came out on top of its category to be voted ‘Best Community Walking Trail’. The 6-mile Greenway weaves its way through the heart of East Belfast and provides a vibrant, attractive, safe and accessible parkland for leisure, recreation as well as community events and activities.

We recommend taking some time to explore the sculptures from ‘The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe’ in C.S Lewis Square.

Favourite place to walk on the Causeway Coast

Walkers have named the Giant’s Causeway as their favourite place to explore on the Causeway Coast’. The famous stones also featured in walkers top 3 ‘Bucket List walks’ in Northern Ireland. Renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago, other noteworthy points of interest include a Spanish Armada shipwreck site (“La Girona’) and many stories of the legendary giant – Finn McCool.

The stones are currently managed by the National Trust and so parking fees apply in their car parks and charges for entry to the visitor centre (National Trust Members go free!).

Favourite Walker Friendly Coffee Shop

Walkers have named Lock Keeper’s Inn, Co, Antrim as their favourite walker friendly coffee shop. A popular choice for walkers exploring this tranquil trail Lagan Towpath just a stone’s throw from the city centre. We recommend parking in the car park at Shaws Bridge and following the trail from Shaws Bridge to Lock Keepers Cottage passing the newly reinstated lock gates.

Favourite Place to walk with your dog

Dog walkers in Northern Ireland have named Murlough National Nature Reserve in Co. Down as their favourite place to walk with their dog. This 2.5 miles walk includes plenty of open beach to run around with your dog so we can see how it’s popular. The site is owned and managed by the National Trust who advise that you follow the yellow topped posts keeping to the paths to avoid disturbance to wildlife. Dogs must be kept under control at all times.

What do you think about these walks? Let us know when you go explore them by leaving a review in the walk listing or tagging us in your pictures using #WalkNI.