This walk takes in the rugged, hill country found in the east of the District, in particular, the lower lying farmed countryside between Leitrim and Moneyslane.
This scenic area forms part of the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty a statutory designation recognising the beauty of the countryside here. The starting point for this walk is the ‘Lighthouse Road’ car park, viewpoint and picnic site located just south of Slievenaboley Mountain and the better known ‘Windy Gap’ car park and viewpoint. Lighthouse Road car park, viewpoint and picnic area was opened by Banbridge District Council in 2005 with grant assistance from the Natural Resource Rural Tourism Initiative (NRRTI) and Environment and Heritage Service (now NIEA) and offers a scenic panorama of the Mourne Mountains range from Castlewellan to Carlingford.
The Moat Pad public right of way forms a loop path from the Lighthouse Road meeting this road at 2 points about ¼ mile apart. It runs to the west from Lighthouse Road towards the Rathfriland Road. Adder’s Loanin’ is a connecting public right of way that runs from the Millvale Road as a green lane north to a farmyard and house - after a short section across a field along the side of a farm shed - it meets a concrete farm lane and connects to the Moat Pad.
Route Fact File
||Approximately 5.5 miles
||Set in the farmed countryside of this hilly terrain in a rural location with dwelling houses along route. Suggested route takes in roads and public rights of way that include surfaced and un-surfaced sections that are rough, uneven and can be very muddy and wet. The farm lanes are in agricultural and domestic use and the Moat Pad passes through the middle of a farmyard as it runs down towards the Rathfriland Road. There are 3 stiles along the Adder’s Loaning section of the route.
||A walk for the more confident country rambler. Parts of the public rights of way can be extremely wet and muddy after wet weather, uneven surfaces and livestock may be encountered along the route. Boots or sturdy shoes are essential. Please respect the privacy of those living and working along the route. Please remain alert and exercise due care and consideration when walking the on-road sections. Please report any problems encountered with this route to the Countryside Officer (028 4066 0605).
|Start and Finish:
||The Lighthouse Road Car Park and View Point, Lighthouse Road (Grid. ref. J277404).
OSNI Discoverer Series 1:50 000 Sheet 20
Slieve Croob Outdoor Pursuits map.
||Shop and a pub and restaurant(restricted opening hours) at Dechomet/Lowtown. Pubs and shop at Leitrim. Shop at Moneyslane crossroad.
From Banbridge - take the A50 in the direction of Castlewellan for approx. 9 miles to Moneyslane. At the crossroad here turn left into the B7 in the direction of Dromara. Continue along the B7 to Dechomet/Lowtown and turn right at the crossroad at Turley’s shop into the Ballymackilreiny Road. Continue along to the end of this road at its junction with the Millvale Road. Here turn left into the Millvale Road and drive for a short distance to just beyond the new houses until you come to a crossroad – take the road on the left here – the Lighthouse Road. Continue along this road for a short distance and look out for a white house very high pitched roof on the right. Just opposite this is the car park bounded by a dry stone wall.
From Leitrim – take the Ballydrumman Road for approximately 2 miles to a crossroad with the Derryneill Road to the left and Lighthouse Road to the right. Turn right into Lighthouse Road and follow the directions above.
On leaving the car park turn left into the Lighthouse Road. Walk along the road for approximately 1 mile ignoring the first footpath sign on the left. Continue along the road to the next footpath sign on the left also leading into a farm lane.
Continue along this lane until you come to a junction (this should be waymarked) with a branch continuing to a 2 storey house set back off the lane and a branch to the left following a farm track. Turn left into the track and continue along until you see a small brown wooden pedestrian gate on the right leading into another path. Go through this gate into the ‘Moat Pad’ - a narrow, grassy track giving great views over the surrounding countryside and down to the ancient circular graveyard next to the old red brick mill chimney at Dechomet/Lowtown. As the path descends and approaches a farm it can be very muddy. Continue down the path and into the farmyard. Continue straight through the farmyard on the concrete lane which passes other houses along the lane (please keep to the path and respect people’s privacy here).
On meeting the Rathfriland Road take a left into this road and, being alert for traffic on this winding road, follow it down hill until you come to Turley’s agricultural supplies premises in the hamlet of Dechomet/Lowtown. At the crossroad at Turley’s turn left into the Ballymackilreiny Road and continue along this road for a mile to its junction with Millvale Road. Turn left into the Millvale Road. Continue along the Millvale Road to just beyond the large, new house on the left - the entrance to the ‘Adder’s Loanin’ public right of way is signed adjacent to the boundary of this property.
Climb over the stile into this path – the start of this path can be very muddy. Continue along this lane – you will come to a small rivulet running across the stream. Continue across this - along the lane - past 2 derelict houses (there may be horses in the lane on this section they have access from the adjacent fields - currently we are trying to deal with this problem). Continue along the lane passing through the wooden pedestrian gates. The lane ends at a stile next to a large farm shed and farmyard – this section also can be very muddy.
Climb the stile and keep near to the side of the field nearest the farm shed – aim for another stile leading out of the field and onto a concrete farm lane. Climb the stile and on meeting the path turn right (away from the farmyard) and stay on this farm lane ignoring the rough lane to the left. The concrete farm lane will take you to the Lighthouse Road. Turn right into this road and follow until you return to your starting point.
Other attractions nearby include:
Finnis Souterrain (Binder’s Cove)
Dree Hill Car Park, viewpoint and walk to the summit of Slieve Croob – the source of the River Lagan.
Windy Gap Car Park and Viewpoint
Castlewellan Forest Park
For the locations of the above please see the Slieve Croob map available as a PDF on the walking cover page.