The Mournes may seem the preserve of the outdoor gear brigade — the ones with the crampons and gaiters and the specialist socks — but it’s still possible to drink in the spectacular beauty of the mountains without embarking on a full-scale hike.
The Fairy Glen in Rostrevor provides a wonderful venue for a short and easy stroll. The walk starts in the village on the Kilkeel side of the bridge and follows the Kilbroney River upstream for half a mile.
Route-finding is simple — the path follows the east bank of the river. On completing the walk, turn and retrace your steps back to the start.
But if you do get the urge to keep on going, Kilbroney Park is also the starting/finishing point of the Mourne Way, an almost entirely off-road scenic walking trail.
Buses run from Newry to Rostrevor and from Kilkeel to Rostrevor. Contact Ulsterbus for further details.
From the centre of Rostrevor village, go down Bridge Street. The Fairy Glen is on the left immediately after the bridge beside the entrance to Kilbroney Park.
Rostrevor is located on the A2 between Newry and Kilkeel. From the centre of the village, go down Bridge Street. The Fairy Glen is to be accessed immediately after the bridge beside the entrance to Kilbroney Park.
The path follows the east bank of the river. On completing the walk, turn and retrace your steps back to the start.
Lying at the southern entrance to the Mournes is the picturesque village of Rostrevor, an area of historical interest and folklore. Features include the ‘Big Stone' (Cloc Mor), St Bronagh's 6th century Church and Bell and Giant Murphy's Grave. The village has a number of beautiful walkways through Rostrevor Forest and Kilbroney Park.
Several paths lead away from the river into the adjacent Kilbroney Park, providing open spaces and pathways, a touring caravan and camping site and a café.
Kilbroney Park is the starting/finishing point of the Mourne Way, an almost entirely off-road scenic walking trail. The Mourne Way can be walked in either direction and links Newcastle to Rostrevor, traversing the foothill of the high Mournes in the north to reach the foot of Slieve Martin in the south.
The backdrop to Kilbroney Park is the impressive 4,000-acre Rostrevor Forest, rising sharply from 30m to 500m above sea level. Planted in 1931 mostly with coniferous species, the forest has a breathtaking two-mile forest drive providing panoramic views over Carlingford Lough, an old oak plantation dating from the 18th century, the famous 40 tonne ‘Cloughmore’ or ‘Big Stone’ and a host of animals ranging from grouse and Irish jays to pine martens, red and grey squirrels, foxes and badgers.
The park offers a wide range of facilities and services, which include tennis courts, children's play area, playing fields, an arboretum, barbecue and picnic areas and café. A well-serviced caravan and camping site caters for 52 touring vans and 30 tents.
CAAN endorses the principles of Leave No Trace, which mean recreational users can minimise their impact on the countryside whilst still enjoying activities with freedom. For more information, visit www.leavenotraceireland.org .
For further information on walking or any other outdoor activity, please contact Countryside Access and Activities Network, tel: 028 9030 3930 or www.walkni.com .
Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN) in association with Belfast Telegraph have provided this information. Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of the information. CAAN and Belfast Telegraph, however, cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions but where such are brought to our attention, the information for future publications will be amended accordingly.
Walk Name: The Fairy Glen.
Area: Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Nearest big town to start point: Rostrevor.
Distance: 1 mile.
Terrain: Off-road path.
Refreshments: Toilets, accommodation and refreshments are available in Rostrevor. There is a café in Kilbroney Park with accessible toilet facilities.
Walk Developed By: Newry and Mourne District Council. For more information contact the Tourist Information Centre in Newry, tel: 028 3031 3170 or in Warrenpoint, tel: 028 417 52256.
Map: Sheet 29 of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discoverer Series, available from Land & Property Services Map Shop, Lincoln Buildings 27-45 Great Victoria Street Belfast BT2 7SL ( www.lpsni.gov.uk ).