Magilligan to Binevenagh

(3 reviews)

Link Section linking the Inishowen peninsula to Quality Section Dungiven to Castlerock incorporating the North Sperrins Way.

There are no transport connections along this Link Section.

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Magilligan to Binevenagh

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  • I’ve been completing the North Sperrin’s way through the past summer by building a series of weekend jogging routes around it, there are probably only about 5 miles I have not set foot on at this point and I have either driven or cycled through those.
    This is a great route with a few minor issues, but nothing that should put you off if you are aware of them in advance.
    Starting from the Castlerock end, the road walking has good paths up to downhill forest where there is some beautiful forest trail walking, all well sign posted.
    From here the climb up to the Bishops Road and Gortmore viewpoint has great views over Magilligan Point and panoramas to take in with a view point wheel to make sense of all of the hills in view up at Gortmore. On a very clear day the paps of Jura may be visible. Waymarking is good here.
    From this point there is a short optional spur up to Binevenagh, with really magnificent views from the cliffs and dramatic eroded outcrops, with the trail then entering a long section of mixed woodland and short road sections taking in the local TV transmitter masts. Waymarking is good here.
    The woods section continues for some time through Springwell forest with the occasional damaged but useable waymark, through North Cam forest, Cam forest, then up to Rigged Hill windfarm, with short road sections.
    A link trail on the Ringsend Road added in the 2009 revision looks to have been removed from public access between the two Cam forest sections, so the road is now followed as per the earlier version of this section, which may be somewhat busy. This is solid walking and the view from Rigged Hill over to the high Sperrins, Benbradagh, Lough Foyle and Innishowen is worth the windfarm climb, particularly towards Sunset. To this point signage and waymarking is generally good. But the 2x old style Ulsterway signs that first made me aware of this section being here some years ago are now missing at the roadside.
    The exit from Rigged Hill/Cam Forest to Temain Road crosses a bogland gap, between the windfarm and a set of three transmitter masts, this section would benefit from some guide poles or other signage for poor weather navigation, as in poor visibility the wind turbines and masts will not be visible. This bog gap is now a bit longer than in the old version of the way, as previously Cam forest was entered at a lower trail, but the new routing makes the walking more varied with improved views.
    The next section is a newer routing over Donalds Hill and passes an impressive Rath known locally as the Kings Fort when descending. There is a fairly rough bogland track from Temain Road to within 700m of the summit, again some guide poles would be useful here as in poor visibility there is no obvious track or waymarks for ascent/descent and the trail is somewhat difficult to make out. Also there are some ditches to be navigated towards the summit.
    Guide poles on these two Rigged Hill and Donalds Hill sections would allow a track to establish through the rough ground sections and make the quite heavy walking here progressively easier, the views on Donalds Hill make the effort worth it though. The guide mentions posts being present, but I did not see any. Metal signage reappears on Gortnarney Road.
    From here the way follows along quiet roads, then down a pleasant farm lane past the glacial scoop of the Legavallon Pot, to reach the Pot Bar. Mentioned in Alan Warners original 1979 circuit guide as a place he stopped in for a bottle of Guinness, but unfortunately looked to be closed when I passed.
    There are then some road sections climbing towards Benbradagh, the Legavallon Road can be somewhat busy but the visibility of traffic is good. Cutting this road section down vs the old routing undoubtedly has improved safety. The metal waymarker signs seem to have been pilfered on this section but the turns are easy enough to work out if you check on a map in advance of going.
    Peters Road and the Gelvin Road bring the way to a left turn and the ascent of Benbradagh via a short lane and then on up through woods. This is a really nice section of walking, accompanied by a river most of the way to the top of the trail, to then exit over a slightly shaky stile to cross another bogland gap.
    Again the guide mentions following guide posts here, but I did not see any, only a fairly degraded line of old fencing. The first time I went through here I became somewhat disorientated, as the “American Road” built by the U.S military in the 50’s is not visible from the edge of the woods and the going is pretty wet.
    The American Road is in fact 450m straight out from the woods, or more easily reached by going left down a bank to the edge of the woods, then going straight out again 350m to reach a ruined croft and then some sheep pens. Alternatively turning right at the stile to then follow the degraded line of fence posts, these may be followed, and then a crossing made at a gatepost, though this is a wetter path.
    From here the ascent to the top of Benbradagh is on the old tarmacked army road and some gravel trail, past the remains of the former US military listening station, with a couple of gates here to be climbed over. It is worth the short climb off route up to the peak for views out from the cliffs.
    From here the steep zig zags of the American Road and then the Curragh Road take the way downhill into Dungiven to finish off the leg.
    I’m glad to have taken the time to cover this possibly less trafficked section of the way, and it has taken me into parts of the countryside which I had never discovered in spite of living close by for years.
    It would be great if some of the signage and particularly the guide posts could be upgraded / replaced, as it would make this route more enjoyable again.
    I would recommend this section, provided some care is taken with navigation.
    I have read that the Causeway Council had looked at funding some upgrades in the more difficult sections I had mentioned, but I do not know if those are going to be progressed at this time.

    David Blair at 9:43 pm
  • County Londonderry

    Distance 10

    OS Map 4

    Terrain Rural roads leading to forest track

    Nearest Town Magilligan

    Route Shape Linear

    Grid Reference C659387

    Route Type Link Section

    Route Description

    This is a Link section but unfortunately there are no public transport options between Magilligan and Binevenagh.

    The route between Magilligan and Binevenagh is on a combination of quiet rural roads and forest tracks through Binevenagh Forest.

    The route is not signposted on the ground.

    For those walkers determined to complete of full circuit of Northern Ireland then accurate maps of this Link section are available to download.

    When walking on road sections please observe the Highway Code and it is advised to wear high visibility clothing.

    Follow the only road out of Magilligan turning right onto the A2. Continue along the A2 until you reach a forest track leading into Binevenagh Forest. Follow this forest track under the cliffs of Binevenagh until you reach the Quality Section Dungiven to Castlerock.

    Point of Interest

    Magilligan Point, Martello Tower, Binevenagh AONB, Binevenagh