There are many possibilities for walking on Cave Hill, north Belfast, ranging from easy strolls to strenuous climbs.
The immediate area of Belfast Castle has several paths, one of which emerges from the trees just below the caves. From there it is possible to reach the caves area and MacArt’s Fort. But be warned—it is a steep and strenuous ascent requiring good fitness and appropriate footwear.
An easier but longer option is to turn right at the caves and head northwards along the narrow track known as the Sheep’s Path. This takes you along the base of the escarpment and eventually to the top along a reasonably gentle slope.
The longest and most complete walk is ‘the circuit’, which starts at the Upper Cavehill Road entrance to Green Lane. Follow Green Lane to the waterfall known as Benn’s Cascade at the top of Carr’s Glen.
Turn right at the waterfall, and continue along a stony path and steep ascent to the top of Cave Hill, walking northwards until you reach MacArt’s Fort. Continue along the escarpment above the caves and eventually turn right to follow the Sheep’s Path down to Belfast Castle and the Upper Cavehill Road again. The total time for this walk is approximately an hour and a half at a brisk pace.
Bring binoculars if you want to make the best of the spectacular views of Belfast Lough, north Down, the Mountains of Mourne, Lough Neagh, the Sperrin Mountains, Slemish, and the Mull of Galloway.
© The Cave Hill Conservation Campaign 2001.