The North Down Coastal Path is one of the finest shoreline walks in Ireland. It extends along the southern shore of Belfast Lough from Holywood to Portavoe near Groomsport. The path has historic and wildlife features adding interest to every step.
You can park your car at any one of the many access points including Holywood, Seapark, Marino, Cultra, Craigavad, Helen’s Bay, Crawfordsburn and Carnalea or take a bus or train and join the path at one of many places along its 16 mile route.
On a walk along the coastal path you can enjoy a variety of geological features, some from 400 to 500 million years ago making them among the oldest in Ireland, or identify the many different wild flowers, shrubs and bushes.
This beautiful environment, with its contrasting shoreline, provides a number of differing habitats from rocky shores through salt marshes and mud flats to sandy beaches. A wide variety of bird species can be observed and a special treat are the grey or Atlantic seals which bask on the rocks at Ballymacormick, Orlock and Rockport.
The seals are from the colony on the Copeland Islands where "Lighthouse Island" is an important bird observatory. In a morning stroll, one can observe numerous wading birds, cormorants and many other species vary season to season, and in winter we are visited by the Northern Divers from the Arctic.
The area is perhaps most noted for its colony of Black Guillemots or "Bangor Penguins" which nest in the holes of the Eisenhower Pier
. The path boasts two areas managed by the National Trust - Ballymacormick Point and Orlock Point, both rich in wild plant life.