Killeter to Gortin
The IAT picks up the Ulster Way on this section, a 625 mile circular route of Ulster. You will follow quiet country roads, walk across open mountain side with view of the Sperrin Mountains, before reaching Gortin Forest Park.
OS Map 12
Terrain Quiet country roads, open hillside, forest tracks
Nearest Town Killeter
Route Shape Linear
Grid Reference H203800
Route Type Quality Section
Starting in the village of Killeter, this section of the IAT follows quiet country roads, areas of woodland, before picking up the Ulster Way on the northern slopes of Bollaght Mountain. The route is waymarked from here using yellow on blue Ulster Way signage. You then ascend Bessy Bell, where panoramic views of the western Sperrins can be enjoyed. The route continues to reach Gortin Forest Park and the village of Gortin itself.
Please be aware that this walking route passes through areas of open land such as hillside, working farmland and working forests. Livestock may be present, ground conditions may be uneven or wet underfoot and all forestry signage should be adhered to. Please refer to the ‘Walk Safely’ information that can be found in the useful information section adjacent.
From Killeter, take a right hand turn onto the Crillys Hill Road, signposted for Ederney. Follow this road for 3km, skirting round the base of Crillys Hill on your left. Turn left onto the Aghnahoo Road at the end of Crillys Hill Road. Continue for approximately 1km before turning right onto the Glen Road. At the end of the Glen Road, turn right onto the Creeduff Road, and continue into the village of Killen. Turn right at the end of the Creeduff Road and progress through the village.
Upon reaching the end of the main street, turn left onto the Lisleen Road and continue to walk for 2km on quiet roads through the open countryside. At the cross roads where the Lisleen Road meets Garvetagh Road, turn right. Continue straight over the cross roads, staying on the Garvetagh Road. Continue straight when the road merges with the Lettercarn Road. Turn right onto the Bolaght Road, following signs for the South Sperrins Scenic Route. After 1km and upon reaching a cross roads, take a left hand turn onto the Kirlish Road, where the IAT route has now joined up with the Ulster Way walking route.
Continue along the Kirlish Road, enjoying fine views throughout. Turn left after approximately forty-five minutes (still called the Kirlish Road) and descend through a crossroads to the B50 Drumquin-Castlederg road. Turn right and proceed carefully along this road for fifteen minutes to a left turn. Turn left again shortly afterwards, and then follow a straight road for forty-five minutes, climbing up through the village of Drumlegagh to a crossroads.
Turn right and then left before descending into the southern reaches of the Baronscourt Estate. Pass a pretty church and continue along a minor road through forest and up onto the B84 Drumquin-Newtownstewart road. After a couple of hundred metres, turn right and then left into Upper Cloonty Wood. Climb steadily along a forest track through several junctions and into Manus Wood. Turn right onto a road for a short distance and then left onto another forest track leading into Cashty Wood. After fifteen minutes turn right at a crossroads and climb steeply for thirty or forty minutes, passing a wind farm, on the way to the triangulation pillar on the summit of Bessy Bell.
From the pillar cross the stile some 200 metres to the west and continue descending in a southeasterly direction, keeping to the right of a fence. Cross a stile and walk beneath the turbines of Beltany Windfarm. Pick up a track and go down through fields using a series of stiles. At the bottom turn right along a track and follow this down to a deserted farmhouse where the road becomes surfaced. Now descend steeply for a few minutes to the Castletown Road. Turn right and walk along the road for fifteen minutes before turning left down a very steep and narrow lane. Cross the A5 with care and follow another lane down to a bridge over the River Strule.
Once over the bridge, continue up a lane to join a minor road after five minutes. Turn right and follow a series of quiet country roads for the next hour and a half to the B48 Omagh-Gortin road. Turn left and walk along the B48 for a short distance before turning right onto a minor road that leads steeply uphill towards Glengawna and Gortin Glen Forest Park. After twenty minutes the road becomes a forest track. Keep left at track junctions and continue to climb. Fifty minutes from the start of the forest track it levels out, follow a smaller trail to the left through more forest before reaching a more significant forest trail and follow it down through the parking area of the forest park to the B48. Turn left and walk downhill along the road for a short distance before turning right onto Lisnaharney Road. Follow this for a few minutes and then turn right onto a forestry track. Follow the track uphill and over the shoulder of Crockanard before descending to the B48 once more. Cross the road and turn right onto Lenamore Road, passing Boorin National Nature Reserve and the conspicuous twin lakes of New Lough and Oak Lough. After climbing steadily for twenty minutes the road begins to descend steeply, with fine views of the Sperrin Mountains. At the bottom of the road turn left onto the B46 and walk west for ten minutes along the road into the village of Gortin.
Bessy Bell, Gortin Forest Park
Killeter can be accessed by leaving the A5 between Strabane and Omagh, west towards Castlederg. Follow signs for Enniskillen and then Killeter after passing through Castlederg.
Killeter is serviced by Ulsterbus route 100 from Strabane via Castlederg.
Killeter is a small village with a shop and a post office. After this there are no opportunities for refreshments until reaching the village of Gortin at the end of the section. There are limited options for accommodation in Killeter and Gortin, check www.discovernorthernireland.com for details.