Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Walk of the Week: The Tipperary Walk

The Tipperary Walk is just one of the routes that explore the National Trust’s 2,000 acres spanning Divis and Black Mountain.

It is signposted following the red arrowed route and offers stunning views over Lough Neagh, Belfast and beyond.

Divis and the Black Mountain provides the majority of Belfast’s breathtaking backdrop. Previously off limits to walkers, the area is now maintained by the National Trust and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Ulster Garden Villages.

Directions

The main access point is via the National Trust Car Park at 12 Divis Road, Hannahstown, Belfast BT17 0NG. This walk starts from the car park, moving through the main yellow gated entrance and onward along the tarmac roadway. On passing the farmyard and pond, take the rough Tipperary Road indicated by the red arrow to the left. At the fork, take the lower path and continue onward to the turning circle at the end of the roadway.

From there, cross the small wooden footbridge and navigate the directional signposts and bridges around the back of Divis Mountain until you meet the rough footpath on the Standing Stone Road.

Here, walkers turn right towards the television mast and can follow this pathway until meeting the tarmac roadway. From here, if you have time and energy, you can turn left and take the boardwalk on your right up to the summit of Black Mountain for spectacular views over Belfast. Otherwise turn left, followed by right, along back towards the farmhouse and once again to the entrance gate.

The backdrop

Divis and Black Mountain offers one of the most pristine examples of mosaic grassland, heath and blanket bog in the British Isles. The area plays host to an abundance of wildlife including fox, badger and Irish hare.

The site is significant for biodiversity with red grouse, stonechats, skylark, snipe and other upland breeding birds, while peregrine falcons and ravens feed in the area. Thirteen species of waxcap fungi have already been identified on the site.

A rich and varied archaeological landscape reveals evidence for death rituals on the mountain, particularly in prehistory. At least four Bronze Age burial cairns are known along with the site of an earlier megalithic tomb.

Walkers will be rewarded with views over Lough Neagh, The Sperrins, Belfast, Belfast Lough from Carrickfergus to the Copeland Islands and beyond to Scotland, the Isle of Man, Cumbria and Holyhead in North Wales.

What to bring

As a general rule, it is best to be overprepared than underprepared. Waterproof and windproof clothing are essential and strong walking boots are also advised. Walkers should carry enough food and water for the walk and for emergencies, as well as taking a first aid kit. As a further safety precaution, you are advised to inform someone of your intended route before you leave.

Responsible walking

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 leavenotraceireland.org.

Further information

For further information on walking or any other outdoor activity, contact: Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, The Stableyard, Barnett’s Demesne, Malone Rd, Belfast BT9 5PB 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: Divis and Black Mountain — The Tipperary Walk.

Area: Belfast.

Nearest big town to start point: Belfast.

Distance: 5.5 mile (8.8 km) circular route.

Terrain: This walk is on surfaced pathways with some uneven sections

Access Restrictions: Dog walkers please keep your dogs under control, as during the summer months cattle graze in the fields on Divis and Black Mountain.

Walk Developed By: This walk has been developed and is maintained by The National Trust, supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund, Environmental and Heritage Service and Ulster Garden Villages.

Map: Sheet 15 of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discovery Series, available from LPSNI Map Shop, Colby House, Stranmillis, Belfast BT9 SBJ, lpsni.gov.uk.

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