There cannot be a more wild and dramatic headland in Northern Ireland than Downhill Estate. With fabulous views that stretch over the whole of the North Coast of Ireland and open windswept cliff top walks, it is not surprising that the estate is part of the Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is a well known icon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments will be reviewed and those that cause offence will be removed. This is at the discretion of WalkNI.

We want everyone to be able to enjoy the walking routes listed on WalkNI safely and easily.

If you have come across any problems whilst walking a route, please let us so we can pass on any issues to the appropriate management body responsible for maintaining the walk.

Walk Route

Mussenden Temple & Downhill Demesne



Your contact details

You don't need to give us all these details if you do not wish, but it is often helpful for route management bodies to be able to contact you if further information about the problem is required.




Tick if you want to be kept informed of the outcome of the problem

  • It’s now 4.70 per adult to enter via either of the two gates. However, if you hike across from Castle Rock, there is a free entrance parallel to the stretch of railway.

    Uncle Someone at 5:11 pm
  • County Derry

    Distance 2 miles

    OS Map Sheet 4

    Terrain Gravel paths, mown grass tracks

    Nearest Town Castlerock, near Coleraine

    Route Shape Circular

    Grid Reference C76003 35394

    Route Type Coastal, Parkland & Grassland

    Starting at Bishop’s Gate entrance to the Demesne, proceed past a quaint gothic style gate lodge (private residence) and enter into the Bishop’s Gate Gardens – look out for the unusual bog garden. At a fork in the main path, take the right track – a well surfaced woodland path and pass through a relict arboretum with many rare tree species.

    At another pronounced fork, follow signs for Mussenden Temple up a steepish grass track. Through a small wooden gate proceed on to gain a majestic view of the gaunt ruins of Downhill House. At this stage you can explore the ruin, or either head to Mussenden Temple which now beckons, perched on the cliff edge. The views of Ireland’s North Coast and some of the Scottish Western Isles (Islay & Jura) on a clear day are very impressive.

    At this point, walkers can choose to retrace their steps or the more adventurous can head west (left of the Temple), making sure to correctly locate the mown grass track through the hay meadows and head for another unusual built feature – the dovecote (another circular type building). From the dovecote, with ice house below – a fantasy landscape of a walled garden appears. On exiting the walled garden, all paths lead back to the ruins of Downhill House, but to return to your starting point veer off to the right, just before the front of the house – following a grass track. This grass track leads to the Mausoleum and back to the gardens at Bishop’s Gate.

    You have now completed 2 miles…and a bit!

    Please note National Trust entrance fees apply to this walk. For details see National Trust Downhill

    Mussenden Temple, Downhill House (ruins), Dovecote

    Mussenden Temple & Downhill Demesne is situated 5 miles west of Coleraine on the A2 main road to Castlerock and Benone Strand. From Londonderry and Limavady follow the A2 coast road to Benone Strand and 3 miles past Benone, Downhill Demesne is located. Signposted both directions, as section of the Causeway Coastal Route.

    Translink – journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

    Car park, Toilets (closed October-March), Picnic area & Information
    (Note: toilets located at Lion’s Gate car park)
    Wardening staff on duty (during visitor season).

    The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility:

    – Disabled toilets – Toliets closed October – March
    – Disabled parking

    Grade 5

    • There may not be a formalised path, and variable, single file trails are to be expected.
    • Gradients and cross slope could be expected to be steep and not limited.
    • Obstacles and surface breaks of greater than 75mm measured across the line of the path to be expected.
    • Overhanging branches are possible. Passing places and rest areas may not be formalised or provided.