Stormont Estate walking route
This route follows the marked Long Woodland Walk through the grounds of the estate. Follow the orange coloured arrows around the grounds.
||2.5 miles, 4 km
|Average time to walk
||1 hour 45 minutes - 2 hours
|Access by bus
||Metro services: 4, 20 and 20A
|Access by car
||Car parking available off the Upper Newtownards Road, past the main gates and near the sports pitches.
This challenging circular route begins at Belfast Castle and follows the green arrows. It can also be joined from Bellevue car park, Upper Hightown road or Upper Cavehill road.
Begin at the interpretive panel in the car park just before the entrance to Belfast Castle. Climb up the path on your left until you reach the first junction. Turn right.
Follow this path through the woodland (1) keeping to the left of any junctions you come to. This path leads up through the trees, climbing on to a plateau, giving excellent views of Belfast and Belfast Lough (2).
Continuing on, take the next path on your left. This skirts round the edge of the Devil’s Punchbowl (3), passes below the largest cave (4) before veering to the right. Follow this path as it climbs steadily up the hill, pausing to take in the surroundings and views on the way.
Continue climbing up the steps to a cattle grid and fence and before reaching the escarpment veer to the left and follow the grass path to the top of the hill and McArt’s Fort (5). Pause again to take in the views before joining the main path on its gradual descent down the south facing slopes of Cave Hill (6).
Continue downhill taking the next lane on your left. This leads down past the tope of Carr’s Glen and carries on for some distance before reaching the upper Cavehill Road.
Go down the footpath a short way and take the path to the left. Climb over the ridge and descend into Belfast Castle Estate. Return to the starting point by means of the footpath up the main driveway.
Things of interest
- Prince of Wales Avenue (1) - Planted in the 1930’s, with double rows of red twigged limes, the avenue was designated by WJ Bean, formed curator of the London Kew Gardens.
- Woodland (2) - The estate supports an interesting mix of woodland, some of which dates back to the 1800’s.
- Stormont Estate (3) - The estate, which is 235 acres and Stormont Castle was purchased by the Government in 1921 for £21,000.
- Reconciliation Sculpture (4) - Depicts young man and woman kneeling to embrace across a divide.
- Parliament Buildings (5) - The buildings were designed in Geek classical tradition and built from Portland stone. It opened in 1932 to serve the Northern Ireland Parliament.
Look out for
- Kestrels, peregrines and buzzards flying overhead.
- Wild orchids on top of the hill
- Some of the animals within Belfast Zoo visible from certain parts of the hill