The North Down Coastal Path

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. The path passes through coastline and parkland. Historic relics and flora and fauna are found in abundance, including the grey seals which can be spotted offshore.
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.

With the assistance of grant aid from DARD, Ards and North Down Borough Council is currently carrying out coastal path improvement works at Seahill to replace the existing steep steps with sections of upgraded path and an elevated walkway. A new bridge walkway has recently opened and has been designed to maintain the coastal ecosystem in its natural state.

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