The Cave Hill is popular with walkers and joggers. There are eight waymarked trails, which range from short easy strolls to challenging 5-mile treks over the summit. There are five access points - Hightown Road, Carrs Glen, Upper Cavehill Road, Belfast Castle and Hazelwood. We will be running a series of guided walks on Cave Hill. These walks generally take place on the third Saturday of each month from April to October, and usually run between 1000 to 1300, though some events will be early morning between 0600 and 0800, or later in the afternoon. The time and dates are listed below.
Most walks will have a theme where an expert will talk about a particular aspect of the Hill. In the absence of a theme, there will be a walk over the top of Cave Hill with a guide who will give a general overview of the historical and cultural aspects of the Hill and will bring participants to some of its most important sites. Participants should be equipped for inclement weather and wear suitable footwear. Children and young people under 16 must be accompanied by a suitable adult. All walks are free.
Organised Walks and Activities in 2019:
Easy Walks are grade E. Challenging walks are grade M.
Saturday 20th April
10:00-13:00 Carr’s Glen.
Well-known local historian Henry Bell will bring us to the remains of once-thriving mills and cottages in and above Carr’s Glen. Meet at the entrance to the Park on the Ballysillan Road just below Boys’ Model.
Saturday 4th May
05:00-07:30 Dawn chorus.
John O’Boyle will lead a dander around the Park to hear and identify birds. Specially designed for early risers! Meet at the gates to the Park at the top of Innisfayle Park.
Saturday 18th May
10:00-13:00 The Birds of Cave Hill.
Get up close to some of our native birds. Licensed bird ringer Aidan Crean will catch, ring and release them and allow us to see them in beautiful detail. Meet at the Castle.
Saturday 15th June
10:00-13:00 A Bug Bonanza.
A bug bonanza. Entomologist Ryan Mitchell will help us find and identify some of the huge variety of insect life in the Park. Meet at the Castle.
Saturday 22nd June
03:30-07:00 Solstice walk.
Greet the sun at dawn on a summer solstice morning before most of Belfast has stirred. Meet at the Castle. Grade: M.
Saturday 20th July
10:00-13:00 The Flora of Cave Hill.
Karl Hamilton will guide us on a plant identification walk in the Nature Reserve in Ballyaghagan at the back of the hill. Meet at the entrance to the Park at the top of the Hightown Road.
Saturday 24th August
10:00-13:00 Forage on Cave Hill.
Phil Simpson has a fund of practical knowledge and plant lore. We’ll walk in his company to see what useful plants we can find. Meet at the Castle.
Friday 6th September
20:30-22:30 Bats of Cave Hill.
Aidan Crean will introduce us to these enchanting nocturnal animals during an evening dander. Meet at the Castle.
Saturday 21st September
10:00-13:00 The Archaeology of Cave Hill.
Local archaeologist Cormac McSparron will lead a trip to the various remains on the hill from the Neolithic period to the early Christian period. Meet at the entrance to the Park at the top of the Hightown Road.
Grade: E .
Saturday 28th September
19:30-22:00 Cave Hill by night.
We have picked a moonless night to try to get the best view we can of the heavens (clouds permitting!) Meet at the Castle.
Saturday 19th October
10:00-13:00 Fungal Foray.
Karl Hamilton will try to allay some of the fears we all share about this fascinating and very necessary group of organisms.