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There cannot be a wilder and more dramatic headland in Northern Ireland than Downhill Estate. With fabulous views that stretch over the Causeway Coast and open windswept cliff top walks, it is not surprising that the estate, laid out in the late 18th century by the eccentric Earl and Bishop, Frederick Hervey, is part of the Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Starting at the Bishop’s Gate entrance to the Demesne, proceed past a quaint gothic style gate lodge (private residence) and enter into the Bishop’s Gate Gardens – look out for the unusual bog garden. At a fork in the main path, take the right track, a well surfaced woodland path and pass through a relict arboretum with many rare tree species.
At the following pronounced fork, follow signs for Mussenden Temple up a steepish grass track. Proceed through a small wooden gate to gain a majestic view of the gaunt ruins of Downhill House. At this stage you can explore the ruins, or head to Mussenden Temple which now beckons, perched on the cliff edge. The views of Ireland’s North Coast and some of the Scottish Western Isles (Islay & Jura) on a clear day are very impressive.
At this point, walkers can choose to retrace their steps or the more adventurous can head west (left of the Temple), making sure to correctly locate the mown grass track through the hay meadows and head for another unusual built feature – the dovecote (another circular-type building). From the dovecote, with ice house below, a fantasy landscape of a walled garden appears. On exiting the walled garden, all paths lead back to the ruins of Downhill House. In order to return to your starting point veer off to the right, just before the front of the house, following a grass track and avoiding the sunken ha-ha. This grass track leads to the Mausoleum and back to the gardens at Bishop’s Gate.
- Designated parking provided for guests with disabilities
- Toilets for disabled visitors
- Picnic Area
Parking & Transport
- Car parking
- Parking (charge)
- Parking (free)
- Parking Areas for Disabled Visitors