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AboutFrom the main spine of the Sperrin Mountains a broad ridge of rolling upland stretches north all the way to the north coast. The North Sperrins Way makes up the majority of this route following the crest of this ridge from the historic town of Dungiven all the way to Swans's Bridge near Binevenagh. The Ulster Way section then continues further to Castlerock on the north coast. Along the way the route enjoys fine views and a variety of walking, from open mountainside to forest trails and quiet roads.
Please Note: A section of the Seacoast Road at Downhill has been closed indefinitely because of a rockfall and unstable cliffs. Alternative routes in the area should be sought. The walk begins in Dungiven, a town that grew up around the site of Dungiven Priory, founded by the O’Cahan Clan as an Augustinian Priory in 1100 AD. From Dungiven the route climbs over Benbradagh and onto the American Road, which was constructed in 1967 by the US Navy to provide access to the US Naval Communication Centre on the summit of this mountain. The base was closed in 1977. Beyond Benbradagh the route runs past Legavannon Pot, a scarp-edge plunge pool formed by retreating glacial melt water. North of the Pot the route enjoys fine views over the Roe Valley; the River Roe which is renowned for its fishing, is designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest. The middle section of the walk follows the Murder Hole Road for a short time. The road earned its foreboding name from the activities of Cushy Glen, a notorious highwayman of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Cushy hid the bodies of his victims in a bog hole, but met his own end at the hands of an intended victim who shot him dead during a failed robbery. The northern Sperrins end at Binevenagh, a mountain renowned for the dramatic escarpments and wonderful views. The cliffs are rich in natural diversity, supporting a habitat-rich grassland and arctic-alpine flora. They have been designated as a National Nature Reserve, Area of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation. The entire area falls within the Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. From Binevenagh the route drops down to the coast along the Bishop’s Road, which was built by Ferderick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry to reach his residence at Downhill estate. The estate’s main attraction is the Mussenden Temple, built on the cliff edge in 1785. Although the estate is not strictly on the route of the Ulster Way, it is easily reached by making a short detour. The walk ends in Castlerock, a small seaside resort whose development was strongly influenced by the Hervey Bruce family of Downhill Estate, and the coming of the railway line during the 1850s. Please be aware that this walking route passes through areas of open land such as hillside, working farmland and working forests. Livestock may be present, ground conditions may be uneven or wet underfoot and all forestry signage should be adhered to. Please refer to the ‘Walk Safely and Responsibly’ information in the Useful Info tab above.
Starting with rural roads
Point of interest:
Dungiven, Benbradagh, Binevenagh, Binevenagh AONB, Downhill, Castlerock
Refreshments are available at the start and finish of the route in Dungiven and Castlerock. However this is a long route with no refreshment stops along the way – walkers should carry provisions accordingly. There are a few B&Bs and Guesthouses in Dungiven at the start with a greater selection at the end in Castlerock. There is also no accommodation along this section of the route so walkers should arrange collection for accommodation off-route in Limavady or Coleraine area.
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