North Down Coastal Path

(5 reviews)

North Down Coastal Path extends from Holywood in the west to Orlock in the east. The path passes through coastline and parkland. Historic relics and flora and fauna are found in abundance, including the grey seals which can be spotted offshore.

Please be aware that sections of the North Down Coastal Path follow private roads. Please respect the Highway Code when walking, cycling or running along these sections where residential traffic will have right of way. Northern Ireland has very few public rights of way and therefore in many areas walkers can only enjoy countryside walks because of the goodwill and tolerance of local landowners. In the interests of your own safety please be respectful when using the area for recreational purposes.

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North Down Coastal Path

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  • This should be a beautiful walk. Unfortunately, the rats ruin it. I was here for two hours and saw two live rats—and one dead rat carcass. I also heard several other walkers complaining about the rats. I won’t be coming back.

    Katie at 7:29 pm
  • I used to walk to rockport every morning which is where I attended school.

    Sadya Akhter at 1:09 pm
  • Love to walk along the coast towards Rockport Do not like the fact that they are talking about upgrading the path as walkers do love the rugged nature of the track. Station Road section the private section needs some work as sink hole dangerous at the moment

    Helen at 11:41 am
  • County Down

    Distance 16 miles

    OS Map Sheet 15

    Terrain Bitmac, stone & grass paths

    Nearest Town Holywood, Co Down

    Route Shape Linear

    Grid Reference J40145 79582

    Route Type Beach, Coastal, Parkland & Grassland

    Route Description

    The walk begins at the Esplanade in Holywood. Walk under the railway arch and turn right. Follow the linear path along the outer edge of Belfast Lough towards Seapark, a recreational area with a play park.

    Continue past the park towards the Royal North Yacht Club. From here follow the public footpath as it rejoins the Coastal Path. At this point a detour to the right will lead to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and the railway halt.

    Continuing on the path leads to Craigavad, with the Royal Belfast Golf Club on the right. Beyond this point cross the bridge in front of Rockport Primary School.

    About 2 miles further round the coast, a set of steep steps takes you inland at the Seahill Sewage Treatment and rejoins the coast path as you descend at the far end.

    From here the path leads to Crawfordsburn Country Park, passing Grey Point Fort, Helen’s Bay and through to Crawfordsburn Beach.

    Leaving the path briefly, cross Swineley Bay and pick up the path at the far side. Continue walking along the path to Wilson’s Point, where the path turns towards Bangor Marina.

    From here follow the path round to Ballyholme Beach, which leads to the National Trust area of Ballymacormick Point. The path continues to Groomsport Harbour, where the path becomes rural in nature, crossing the beach area round towards Orlock Point, Portavo. A small lay-by indicates the end of the walk.

    Point of Interest

    Grey Fort Point (battery and gun emplacement), views

    Getting to the start

    Translink –

    Public transport

    Translink –

    Dog Policy

    Dogs are allowed. Dogs must be kept under close control


    Toilets, accommodation and refreshments are available along the walk including in the villages and towns of Newtownards, Helens Bay, Groomsport & Bangor

    The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility:

    – Café (wheelchair accessible) – at Groomsport, Bangor, Helens Bay and Holywood
    – Shop (wheelchair accessible)
    – Visitors Centre – at Groomsport, Bangor and Helens Bay
    – Disabled toilets
    – Disabled parking

    Accessibility Grade

    Grade 4

    North Down Coastal Path (Orlock Point to Groomsport) – Grade 5
    North Down Coastal Path (Groomsport to Bangor) – Grade 4
    North Down Coastal Path (Bangor to Helens Bay) – Grade 4
    North Down Coastal Path (Helens Bay to Holywood) – Grade 5