Northern Ireland is known for its wide variety of magnificent landscapes, enchanting woodlands and stunning displays of nature. Throughout each County, mother nature has demonstrated her beauty and provided NI with scenic landscapes that attract attention from all around the world.
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To honour the beauty of NI, we’ve put a guide together for the best Autumn walks in Northern Ireland:
Autumn walks NI, County Antrim
Glenariff Forest Park
Located in County Antrim, Glenariff Forest Park is one of the nine Antrim Glens in Northern Ireland. It covers over 1000 hectares with woodlands, lakes and pastures. In the Autumn, the path is littered with crunchy leaves and fall foliage, making for a truly stunning Autumn walk.
Glenariff Forest Park also boasts beautiful waterfalls that trickle throughout the river. Follow the Waterfall Walk Trail (3km) to look in awe at the gushing water and tranquil setting. There are several walking trails through the forest which give spectacular views of the picturesque glen including: .
- Rainbow Trail (0.6km)
- Scenic Trail (8.9km)
- Viewpoint Trail (1km)
Whatever trail you take you’ll be spoilt with enchanting woodlands and stunning nature. If you’re lucky you might also catch a glimpse of the wildlife that reside in the forest, including deer, red squirrel, hen harrier and Irish hare.
Cave Hill Country Park
Cave Hill Country Park is located just a short distance from Belfast City Centre, but in the Cave Hill woodlands, you feel detached from city life and encompassed by the surrounding nature. The park is particularly beautiful in the Autumn time, as the majority of trees are deciduous, paths are covered in leaves that crunch beneath your feet.
The Cave Hill is also home to five caves that reside on the cliff’s face. You can climb into one of them beneath Napoleon’s Nose, which is particularly spooky for the month of October.
Napoleon’s Nose sits at the top of the country park, rising to 360m above ground. You can climb the tall cliff and overlook the aweing landscape of the city. The Belfast Docks and Harland and Wolff are visible in the distance and you can usually see the Stenaline boat come in and out. Napoleon’s Nose is a stunning viewpoint and an iconic landmark in Belfast.
Belfast Castle is also nestled within the lower grounds of Cave Hill Country Park. It is free for visitors to enter and due to the rich heritage and history of the site, it remains as a popular tourist destination in NI. Finish your Autumn walk by sitting in the castle grounds or cellar cafe, enjoying beverages and light refreshments.
Autumn walks in NI, County Down
Crawfordsburn Country Park
Located in Bangor, Crawfordsburn Country Park is a truly stunning place to take an Autumn stroll. The mystical woodlands are like something out of Narnia especially when the Autumn leaves dance and fall around you.
Within the woodlands you will reach Crawfordsburn viaduct, a stunning arched bridge that the Bangor-Belfast train passes along. Small waterfalls and streams also line the Crawfordsburn path, making for a truly stunning walk within nature.
The Mourne Mountains are located in County Down and home to the highest mountains in Northern Ireland. With an elevation of 850m at Slieve Donard, the scenic view at the summit of the Mournes is indescribable.
The other five highest peaks of the Mournes include:
- Slieve Commedagh – 765m
- Slieve Binnian – 747m
- Slieve Bearnagh – 739m
- Slieve Meelbeg – 708m
- Meelmore – 704m
The Mournes offer viewpoints that are truly awe-inspiring, reminding you of the stark beauty and appreciation of nature. The Mourne Mountains cover an incredibly wide landscape, there are 54 different walking trails that you can take through the Mournes, each offering different viewpoints and snippets of nature’s beauty, find details of each here.
Walk through the Mourne Valleys and appreciate the Autumn scenes of orange, brown landscapes. The Mourne Mountains are the perfect place to feel the wind on your face and crunch beneath your feet.
Tollymore Forest Park
Tollymore Forest Park is located at the base of the Mourne Mountains and covers almost 630 hectares. The park has an incredible beech woodland that turns a beautiful burnt orange colour in the Autumn and the mature conifer forest remains green all year round.
Journey through different trails such as the Mountain Trail, Drinns Trail or Black Trail. Each path offers different viewpoints that capture the beauty of the forest, but they also have varying levels of difficulty and step inclines. Click here for further information on the Tollymore Forest Park trails.
The Shimna River also runs through the woodlands, you can hear the sound of the gushing water nearby like the forest’s melody. Throughout the woods, there are also wooden and brick bridges that you can use to cross over the river. It is a truly beautiful place to walk through in the Autumn, just absorbing nature, the enchanting woodlands and the panoramic views of the mountains nearby.
Autumn walks in NI, County Tyrone & County Derry/Londonderry
The Sperrin Mountains stretch along the border of County Tyrone and County Derry/Londonderry. It is the largest mountain range in Ireland, spanning over 40 miles. The Sperrin Mountains also boast a range of loughs, rivers, forests, a waterfall and woodlands. It’s a hub of wildlife and nature working in perfect synchronicity with one another.
The Gortin Lakes in particular are a stunning part of the range, the massive body of water is truly memorising. Tranquil waters are embedded throughout the mountains and in the Autumn the waters are calm and the trees bare. The Sperrin Mountains are also home to the Beaghmore Stone Circles, ancient relics that accurately correlate to movements of sun, moon and stars.
The Sperrin Mountains are a place of wonder and enchantment. Marvel in the glory of mother nature this Autumn by visiting one of these trails throughout the mountain range.
Northern Ireland is a beautiful part of the world where you can truly appreciate the seasonal change of Autumn. This list of best Autumn walks in NI, only scratches the surface of Northern Ireland’s beauty. Luscious greenery, mature woodlands and rural settings run throughout the land, we need only appreciate and explore it with a tranquil Autumn stroll.
Built up an appetite following that massive walk? Check out this blog for some lunch spots in Belfast.