A classic coast walk includes a spectacular cliff section through The Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site then along White Park Bay to Ballintoy.
Leaving Bushmills the route follows the old railway down to Runkerry Bay then on around the headland and along the cliff top to the Giant’s Causeway world Heritage site. A long grassy cliff top path affords spectacular views of the basalt rock formations along this coastline before descending to Port Moon Bay and the ruin of Dunseverick Castle. From here the route follows the shore line around White Park Bay to the picturesque Ballintoy Harbour and on to finish in Ballintoy itself.
The highlight of today’s walk has to be the spectacular cliff path section through the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site. Towering basalt cliffs with perfect hexagonal columns characterise this unique coastline and their formations have been given individual names such as the Organ, Harp, Chimney and Amphitheatre. Panoramic views are also to be had further along the Antrim Coast, Rathlin Island, the Scottish Isles and mainland.
This is a day to remember so take time to linger and enjoy the views on one of the many seats along the way. Coastal walking rarely gets better than this!
You might encounter traffic on the road sections from Bushmills and into Ballintoy but the pavements are generally good. The only section on the road is from Ballintoy Harbour so keep in to the side. There are a few steep climbs and descents on the cliff path but most of the route is on the level. Take care on the cliff path around the Giant’s Causeway, especially in high winds or poor visibility as the drop is high. When walking the beach sections around Portbraddon and White Park Bay be mindful of the tide. If the tide is high or the weather stormy keep close to the edge. If this section is impassable you will have to follow A2 road from Dunseverick Village to Ballintoy.
The pleasant town of Bushmills has a number of shops, cafes and bars where you can stock up with food and drink. There are also two supermarkets with free cash machines, a post office, pharmacy and a tourist information centre in the town. After the Giant’s Causeway visitors complex there are no opportunities for refreshment until arriving in Ballintoy. Be advised that there is an admission charge into the visitor centre. However, refreshments are available at the adjacent Causeway Hotel.
Points of Interest
Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site.
This is Irelands only World Heritage Site. Some 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns were formed here during intense volcanic activity some 60 million years ago. The original lava plateau extended over to Scotland with remnants now left on Mull and Staffa. The unique formations have individual names such as The Organ, The Chimney and The Amphitheatre.
This was the site of an Armada wreck in 1588. The Girona was one of 24 ships from the Spanish Armada wrecked along the Irish coast. Of an estimated 1300 people on board less than 10 survived. In the 1960’s a team of divers investigated the wreck and salvaged the largest haul of Spanish treasure ever recovered. It is now on display in Belfast’s Ulster Museum.
Little remains of the original fortification apart from the ruin of the gatehouse. However this impressive crag has a long and interesting history dating back to the ancient kingdom of Dalriada. It extended from here over the sea to Argyll where St Columba travelled to found the community at Iona.
Good boots or walking shoes are recommended as the terrain is variable on this walk. Walking poles can be carried if you prefer, as there are a few steep climbs and descents on the cliff path section. Irish weather can be unpredictable and also wet so it is important to be prepared at all times. Waterproofs should be carried as well as a hat and gloves and maybe an extra layer just in case. In the summer sunscreen is also recommended.