Hillsborough Forest, Fox Fort Trail

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This trail follows explores the forest around the boundary Hillsborough Forest Park.

Set within 150 acres of mixed woodlands this is the ideal place to walk and relax in nature. The forest is rich with bird life and larger mammals, including foxes and badgers may also be seen. Fishing, by permit only, is also available. The forest is open from dawn till dusk every day. Admission and car parking is free.

Within Hillsborough Forest, the 17th Century Hillsborough Fort can be seen, built on the sight of an old stronghold, founded by Peter Hill in 1630. The square fort features a parapet wall and was granted Royal Fort status by Charles II.

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Walk Route

Hillsborough Forest, Fox Fort Trail



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County Down

Distance 2.3 miles

OS Map Sheet 20

Terrain Moderate, steep in places

Nearest Town Hillsborough

Route Shape Circular

Grid Reference J24346 58413

Route Type Forest, Woodland

From the main car park follow the path to the lake. Here turn right and follow the trail to the far end of the lake. At the point where the trail splits into a V turn right and continue following the trail as it picks up the boundary of the forest. A loop section will take you around the Fox Fort.

Reaching the lower edge of the forest follow the trail to the lake and Hillsborough Fort. Managed by the NI Environment Agency the fort is accessible from the path. Having explored the fort turn right and follow the lake back to the car park.

The tree fringed lake attracts a wide variety of wildfowl, ancient rath

The main A1 Belfast to Dublin road passes close by the village, with access signposted via the roundabout at the north end of the village and easy access over a bridge at the south end. The Forest entrance is located at the end of Park Street and this is signposted from the main road through the village.

Translink – journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

Dogs are allowed. All dogs should be kept under proper control. Dogs must not be allowed to foul on footpaths – please clear up and use the dog fould bins provided at the forest car park and at several points en route around the forest trails.

Car parking / picnic facilities / ice cream and confectionery is sold from a mobile van. Several cafes, restaurants and shops are located close by in the village. Public toilets with wheelchair access are available at Hillsborough Fort and in the village beside. The Lake is also a publicly owned fishery (stocked with rainbow trout). Fishing is by permit only, issued by DCAL Inland Fisheries.