Kilclief to Ardglass - Lecale Way Trail

This walk is part of the trek Downpatrick to Newcastle - Lecale Way Trail.

This 3rd section of the Lecale Way Trail. The Lecale region of County Down is characterised by pretty villages, wild coastline and a liberal scattering of historic sites. This walking route uses a combination of country roads, tracks and footpaths to explore the best of the scenery, with lowland terrain and frequent signposts making it suitable for most levels of walking experience. This section incorporates dramatic natural scenery around the Ballyhornan Coastal Path.

Technical sheet No. 30819713

A Down walk posted on 17/02/23 by Walk NI. Last update : 01/03/23
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h15[?]
Distance Distance : 7.00 mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 49 ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 49 ft
Highest point Highest point : 75 ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 7 ft
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Location Location : Down
Starting point Starting point : N 54.335272° / W 5.544958°
Ending point Ending point : N 54.262843° / W 5.609853°
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Start : Kilclief Castle, Shore Rd (A2), Strangford, Kilclief, Downpatrick (BT30 7NP)

(D) From the base of Kilclief castle, turn right and head South along the road towards Ballyhornan village. After 2 Km the coastal heath of Killard Nature Reserve can be seen to the left.

(1) This merges into Ballyhornan Bay, which is backed by a wide stretch of sand a kilometre long. Walk South-West with the Bay on your left.

(2) At the end of the beach, turn left (South-East) in Ballyhornan village. A lane (Roack Road) brings you down to the shore, where there are good views across to Gun’s Island.

(3) After around 600m, the lane soon dwindles to a track, then becomes a footpath running along the top of the foreshore for around 1.6 Km.

Please note: this stretch of path is rough and exposed in places with steep drops.

Continue past a ruined coastguard station and around several more coves. The coastline becomes wilder and more dramatic as you continue, and you’re soon forced to the top of the cliffs by a steep inlet. The Mourne Mountains can now be seen to the South-West, while the Isle of Man is visible out to sea.

(4) Continue through longer grass to Sheepland, an abandoned settlement that was once home to a corn mill. The path now returns to sea level and continues to the wooden cross and enclosure surrounding St Patrick’s Well, a site associated with the saint’s arrival in County Down in 432 AD. Shortly beyond the well you arrive at a grassy lane. Follow this inland to a minor road.

(5) Then turn left (West). After 1.5 Km you arrive at the main A2 Strangford-Ardglass road.

(6) Taking care of the traffic turn left (South-West) here and follow the tarmac for 1 Km to arrive in the centre of Ardglass. (A)

Waypoints :
D : mi 0 - alt. 26 ft - Kilclief Castle
1 : mi 1.89 - alt. 23 ft - Ballyhornan Bay
2 : mi 2.51 - alt. 49 ft - Ballyhornan village
3 : mi 2.88 - alt. 23 ft - Track become a footpath
4 : mi 3.86 - alt. 52 ft - Sheepland
5 : mi 5.45 - alt. 52 ft - Minor Road
6 : mi 6.33 - alt. 49 ft - A2 Strangford-Ardglass road
A : mi 7 - alt. 26 ft - Ardglass

Useful Information

Start : Kilclief Castle, Shore Rd (A2), Strangford, Kilclief, Downpatrick (BT30 7NP)

Arrival : Crossroads between Hill Street and Bath Street, Ardglass, Downpatrick (BT30 7WH)

Terrain : Varried road

Public Transport : Translink

Facilities : Toilets, accommodation and refreshments are available all the way along the walk including the village of Ardglass.

Dog Policy : Dogs must be on leads at all times on the route.

Note : Please note – the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) may close the path between Ballyhornan and St Patrick’s Well during October each year, to facilitate habitat conservation along the Sheepland Coast.

Find more information and walk ideas at Walk NI here.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Did You Know?
As you walk between Kilclief and Killard Nature Reserve, look out across the coastal waters. If the tide is retreating the sea is likely to be turbulent, as 400,000 tonnes of tidal flow empties out of the narrow mouth of Strangford Lough. Little wonder that the Vikings named the inlet Strang Fjörthr, or ‘strong fiord’.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.