Cave Hill Country Park
A challenging route, over unsurfaced paths, past the caves to McArt’s Fort, and crossing moorland, heath and meadows. You will discover much of what the park has to offer from archaeological sites and wildlife to panoramic views.
Distance 4.5 miles
OS Map Sheet 15 + Belfast Stree
Terrain Steep climb, unsurfaced paths
Nearest Town Antrim Road, Belfast
Route Shape Circular
Grid Reference J32864 79119
Route Type Mountain, Urban
This is a challenging circular route beginning at Belfast Castle and following the green way marked arrows. It can, however, be joined from Bellevue car park, Upper Hightown Road or Upper Cavehill Road.
Begin at the interpretative panel in the car park just before the entrance to Belfast Castle. Climb up the path on your left until you reach the first junction. Turn right. Follow this path through the woodland, keeping to the left of any of the junctions you come to. This path leads up through the trees, climbing on to a plateau. Stop here to admire the fabulous views over the city and Belfast Lough.
Continuing on, take the next path on your left. This skirts round the Devil’s Punchbowl, passes below the largest cave before veering to the right. Follow this path as it climbs steadily up the hill, pausing to take in the surroundings and views on the way.
Continue climbing up the steps to a cattle grid and fence, at the top veer to the left and follow the grass path to the top of the hill and McArt’s Fort. Pause again to take in the magnificent views before joining the main path on its gradual descent down the south facing slopes of Cave Hill.
Continue downhill taking the next lane on your left. This leads down past the top of Carr’s Glen and carries on for some distance before reaching the Upper Cavehill Road. Go down the footpath a short way and take the path to the left. Climb over the ridge and descend into Belfast Castle Estate. Return to the starting point by means of the footpath up the main driveway.
Belfast Castle, McArts Fort
Car parking at Belfast Castle off Antrim Road, Belfast Zoo (Hazelwood), Upper Cavehill Road and Upper Hightown Road.
Translink – journeyplanner.translink.co.uk
Dogs are permitted, dogs must be kept on a lead.
Belfast Castle is open to the public. A restaurant in the basement offers a variety of menus from morning coffee to full meals. The second floor of the Castle plays host to the Cave Hill Visitor Centre with exciting displays on the history, folklore, wildlife and geology of Cave Hill Country park and the story of Belfast Castle.
The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility:
– Café (wheelchair accessible) – 12pm – 3pm Mon – Sat
– Disabled toilets
– Disabled parking
- 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.