Downhill Forest Pond Trail
There are two waymarked paths in the forest; one is just over a kilometre long while the other is two kilometres in length. The Ulster Way also runs through part of the forest. There is a National Trust walk in the Bishops Gate which directly opposite the entrance and can be used to extend the walk.
There is a National Trust walk in the Bishops Gate which directly opposite the entrance and can be used to extend the walk
Distance 0.7 miles
OS Map Sheet 4
Terrain Gravel paths
Nearest Town Castlerock
Route Shape Circular
Grid Reference C761354
Route Type Forest
Downhill Forest is a small mixed woodland of 83 hectares just inland from the North Coast of Northern Ireland, near Castlerock. The Forest was originally part of the estate of Frederick Harvey, the 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry, which included Downhill Castle, now maintained by The National Trust.
A walk through Downhill Forest will allow you to view one of Northern Irelands fattest Sitka spruce (in 1962 the girth was approximately 6m), an Early Christian Promontory Fort and an old water powered sawmill with its lade running round the small lake in the middle of this woodland.
The lake was originally designed as a fishpond, a number of Mallard ducks have taken up residence. Both the waymarked walks pass by this elongated pond.
There are two waymarked paths in the forest; one is just over a kilometre long while the other is two kilometres in length. The Ulster Way also runs through part of the forest. The North West Orienteering Club have also created a permanent orienteering course in the forest.
These walks are situated in a working forest environment and may be subject to diversion and closure from time to time.
Up to date information is available on the Forest Service web site – https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/downhill-forest.
Northern Ireland’s fattest Sitka spruce
From Coleraine ~ Take the A2 through Articlave, Downhill Forest is on the left after approx. 1½ miles.
From Limavady ~ Take the A2 towards Castlerock, Downhill Forest is on the right approx. 3½ miles after Benone.
When parking please do not block the gates as lorries, emergency vehicles and other official vehicles may need access to this entrance at anytime.
Translink – journeyplanner.translink.co.uk
Dogs are allowed. Must be kept under control.
Refreshments and toilets available in Castlerock.
- The path may not be hard and firm in all weathers with loose stones (not bigger than 10cm) with occasional tree roots and pot holes and will be at least 80cm wide for its entire length.
- The path gradients and cross slopes will be greater than 6°.
- Obstacles such as steps or stiles are to be expected and surface breaks may be larger 75mm in width.
- There will be a clear head height of greater than 2.10m for the entire length of the route.
- Passing places and rest areas may not be formalised or provided.