Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Walk of the Week: Delamont Country Park

On the shores of Strangford Lough close to the historic town of Downpatrick, the 200-acre Delamont Country Park offers stunning, serene views across Strangford Lough.

The park's relaxing atmosphere makes it a place to settle into the slow rhythm of the countryside. The peaceful atmosphere created by the lapping water of Strangford Lough in the background contrasts with the Mourne Mountains and St Patrick’s country beyond.

These walks bring you through the beautiful unspoiled countryside of mature woodlands, open pasture, tranquil rolling drumlins and to the edge of Ireland’s first Marine Nature Reserve.

There are five waymarked walks: Mullagh Walk 1km; Garden Walk 1.2km; Strangford Walk 2km; Corbally Walk 4km; and Longwalk 7km. All are wheelchair accessible and two mobility rambler scooters are available for use in the park. Car park charges apply at weekends and daily during the summer season.

Directions

The park is a 30-minute drive from Belfast and a five-minute drive from Downpatrick on the A22 Downpatrick to Comber Road.

The walks through Delamont Country Park are all interlinked and can be easily added to or shortened. All routes start and finish from the main car park and you can follow the coloured waymarkers (blue, pink, purple, red and yellow).

To walk the Long Walk, follow the light blue waymarked path beside the new toilet block. At the first junction, turn right to follow the path behind the play park and onto to the miniature railway. Turn left at the tunnel across the entrance road and left again past the camping and caravan site up around or through Corbally Wood.

Continue down through the new plantations before turning left at the junction, where you will then head towards the shore past the Willow Sculpture and the pond. Up the hill, turn left towards the shore past the Strangford Stone on the hill.

After a rest beside the lapping waters of the lough, follow the path through the new woodlands and turn left before the barrier. At the next path junction, with the Dromara hills in view, turn left down the hill on past the hidden spring and troll bridge into the open meadow.

As you pass through this grassland you will return back to the first path junction of your walk and here you can turn right back to the car park.

The backdrop

The park is home of many of Ireland’s native flora and fauna and is ideal for observing numerous sea birds, seals and otters on its shore. A bird hide allows observation into the Heronry onto the pond and over open pasture, where many birds of prey hunt.

If the walks are not strenuous enough, visitors can use the fresh air fitness equipment located along all the walks. The equipment has been designed to provide strength, cardiovascular, flexibility and balance and co-ordination training for all the major muscle groups and is suitable for all ages and abilities.

En route, you can marvel at the wonder of the Strangford Stone, a 10-metre high megalith, erected using the muscle power of 1,000 young people to mark the Millennium — not an easy task when you consider that it weighs 25 tonnes and is quarried from Mourne granite.

Further information

For further information on walking or any other outdoor activity, please contact Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland at, tel: 028 9030 3930 or walkni.com.

Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland (formerly CAAN) in association with Belfast Telegraph has provided this information. Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of the information. Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland 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: Delamont Country Park.

Area: Strangford Lough.

Nearest big town to start point: Downpatrick or Killyleagh.

Distance: Trails from 1km to 7km.

Terrain: Drumlins and flat parkland.

Access Restrictions: Open all year round from 9am to dusk.

Refreshments/Facilities: There is a small gift shop and visitor centre with refreshments available.

Publications: Delamont Country Park Visitor Guide is available from Delamont Country Park, tel: 028 4482 8333.

Walk Developed By: Down District Council.

Map: Sheets 21 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 lpsni.gov.uk.

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