Weekend Walk: Ballintoy-Bushmills, Causeway Coast Way
Area: Antrim Coast and Glens AONB.
Distance: 12.4 miles linear (one way).
Map: Sheet 5 of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discoverer Series available from Land & Property Services osni.gov.uk or nidirect.gov.uk/map-shop-information.
Nearest town to start: Ballintoy.
Facilities: Cafe and free car parking available at Ballintoy Harbour and Bushmills town centre.
Developed By: Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.
Terrain: Mixed terrain along beach and coastal paths.
Walk Description: Passing beach, cliff and castle, there is plenty to admire along this coastal route. From the stunning White Park Bay to the picturesque hamlet of Portbradden and the ancient Dunseverick Harbour, experience some of Ireland's most stunning views along a breathtaking section of the Causeway Coast Way.
Starting at Ballintoy Harbour, which you may recognise as the quay of 'the Iron Islands' from Game of Thrones, follow the path west as it winds away from the harbour towards a stile. Cross the stile past rock stacks to access the narrow end of White Park Bay. Walk along the length of the beach, taking care when crossing uneven rock and chalk boulders to access the picturesque hamlet of Portbradden. During high tide, Portbradden can be accessed by joining the main coast road via the track at the youth hostel.
Continue along the coast, passing through the arch at Gid Point. From here the path passes a series of rocky bays to Dunseverick Harbour. Peer down at Portmoon Salmon Fishery and stand at the highest point of Hamilton's Seat between Benbane and Bengore to experience superb views. Continue along the path, passing the bays of Port na Tober, Port na Spaniagh and the Ampitheatre. An optional detour here down the ‘Shepherd's Steps' to the water's edge will lead you to the hexagonal basalt formations that make the Giant's Causeway.
From here walk along the tarmac or clifftop path to the Visitors Centre before following signs down to the Giant's Causeway and Bushmills Railway Station. Pick up the path alongside the track and follow to Bushmills Station on the Ballaghmore Road where it is just a short walk into Bushmills town centre.
Responsible Walking: Please remember to practice the principles of 'Leave No Trace' when enjoying the outdoors in order to minimise your impact on the environment. For more information, visit www.leavenotraceireland.org.
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