Top walks in Northern Ireland revealed - WalkNI 2020/21 Award Winners
What a year 2020-21 has been! Northern Ireland’s walking trails have been the perfect place for a breath of fresh air during the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, with more people getting outside than ever before. Despite a delay due to COVID we can finally reveal who came out on top in the WalkNI Awards sponsored by Sperrinview Glamping. With over 1,700 public votes! these winners come highly recommended by the people who know them best!
Slieve Binnian, Co. Down
The 2449ft (747m) summit of Slieve Binnian rewards walkers with one of the most spectacular views in the Mourne Mountains. The monstrous outcrop of granite on the North Tor is a popular spot with walkers. The reward for your steep climb to the summit is exceedingly find panoramic views of the surrounding mountain range, with views on clear days across to the Isle of Man out to sea and the Wicklow Mountains beyond Dublin.
Lock Keeper’s Inn, Co. Antrim
During lockdown meeting a friend outside for a socially distance walk was often accompanied by a warming cup of coffee (and a bun!). Coffee Shops and mobile coffee providers located at or beside our favourite walking trails provided the perfect (takeaway) walker friendly service we needed. Once again Lock Keeper’s Inn located on the Lagan Towpath came out as walkers top choice for a takeaway treat when out walking.
Tollymore Forest Park, Co. Down
One thing many of us learnt to value of was the benefit of getting out for a walk with our families. Whether it be getting out for a walk with a pram or getting the kids out of the house for a well earned break from homeschooling to reduce everyone’s blood pressure. Walkers have voted Tollymore Forest Park as the best place to get out for a family walk in Northern Ireland. Featuring stepping stones, duck ponds, castle gardens and the popular ‘Big Deer’ play area we can see why this is a popular choice.
Murlough National Nature Reserve, Co. Down
With more of us working from home or off on Furlough the last year has meant we got to spend more time at home getting out for more walks with our dogs. Dog walkers in Northern Ireland have crowned Murlough National Nature Reserve as the top walking spot for dogs and their humans in 2020/21. This wide flat sandy beach offers amazing views of the spectacular Mourne Mountains in the distance. Please note that dogs must be kept on a lead.
Connswater Community Greenway, Co. Antrim
A fantastic urban walk through East Belfast. This trail that begins at Victoria Park with the option of branching off to finish at the Braniel or Cregagh Glen. The Greenway can be enjoyed in full or in sections with many loop walk options around the open park areas such as Orangefield and Victoria Park. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a lead.
Castlewellan Forest Park, Co. Down
With the closure of cinemas, family activities, sit in cafes and many more usual activities, the last year has taught us the value of a good walk and a picnic. Walkers in Northern Ireland have named Castlewellan Forest Park in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains as their top location for a walk and a picnic. Boasting fantastic walking trails, picnic benches with spectacular views, ‘Animal Wood’ play area and one of the largest hedge mazes in Ireland.
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