Blackhead Path

A bracing Blackhead Path Whitehead pathwalk by the sea! The path runs northeast from Whitehead and is lined by interesting wildlife habitats including grassland, woodland (known locally as the ‘Magic Forest’) and a rocky shoreline. The Lough itself is an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) famed for its bird population, including nesting peregrine falcons. Meadow pipit, robin, goldfinch and chaffinch are commonly seen. There have also been recent sightings of stoat and otter and, on sunny days, watch out for lizard sunning themselves on rocks by the path. If you keep an eye on the beach and look out to sea, birds such as cormorant, shag, gannet, oyster catcher, redshank, turnstone, black-headed gull and common gull can be spotted. Seals, porpoise and dolphin can sometimes be seen swimming in the lough – a real treat.

Walkers can ascend a steps to reach Blackhead Lighthouse which was designed by William Douglass, Engineer to the Commissioners of Irish Lights. The light was first ‘lit’ in 1902. Its purpose was to aid shipping in and out of Belfast Lough complemented by the lighthouse on Mew Island. It is also a significant passing point on the north south shipping routes. The lighthouse is 16metres high and stands 45 metres above average high tide mark. The light is visible from 27 nautical miles. It was a paraffin lamp until 1965 when it was electrified. The lighthouse was automated in 1975 and became unmanned.