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.
On the advice of Belfast City Council, our event Dawn Chorus, on Saturday 8th May
and “Forage on Cave Hill”, which was scheduled to take place on 15 May, were cancelled. BCC regulations have been constantly under review.
We were able to recommence our programme of events starting with "The Birds of Cave Hill" on Saturday 29th May, meeting at 10.00 am at the Castle.
To keep up to date with developments, please visit our pages. here on the web site, or on Facebook and Twitter.
Details of planned events are outlined below in the schedule of Walks and Activities.
Please be prepared for bad weather and bring footwear suitable for rough ground. Some of the walks will be moderately strenuous and some people may find them challenging. Easy walks are grade E and more challenging walks are grade M.
Young people under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
If you have any worries about fitness or have medical conditions which may affect your ability to walk, please talk to the leader at the start of the walk. If the leader assesses you as not being fit for the walk, you will not be able to take part.
It is very important for your own safety, and of the group, that you obey the instructions of the walk leader or of any of the assistant leaders. It is of particular importance that the group stays together at all times.
All of our activities are free.
You can see photos and images of events that have taken place at the bottom of this page.
Organised Walks and Activities in 2021
Easy Walks are Grade E. Challenging walks are Grade M.
Saturday 17th April
10:00-13:00 The rocks of Cave Hill.
Kirstin Lemon is an enthusiast for her geology profession and she will delight in explaining the geological origins of Cave Hill on this walk over the hill. Meet at the Castle. Grade M
Saturday 8th 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. Grade E
Saturday 15th May
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.
Saturday 29th 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 19th June
03:30-06:30 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 17 July
10.00-13.00 The flowers of Cave Hill
Karl Hamilton will introduce us to the flowers growing on Cave Hill. Meet at the car park on the Upper Hightown Road. Grade E.
Saturday 7th August
10.00-13.00 A bug bonanza
Conservation Officer with Buglife, Anna Hart will lead a fossick through the Park looking to find and identify whatever we come across. Meet at the Castle. Grade E.
Friday 3rd 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. Grade E.
Saturday 18th 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.
Wednesday 6th October
19.30-22.00 Cave Hill by starlight
A chance to look down on Belfast by night and get a view of the stars and planets. Meet at the Castle. Grade M.
Saturday 16th October
10:00-13:00 Fungal Foray.
Debbie Nelson will lead us in a snuffle through the Cave Hill woods to see what fungi we can find and identify.
Meet at the Castle. Grade E.
Solstice on Cave Hill
Twentyeight members met near Belfast Castle and walked to the top of Cave Hill to greet the sun at dawn on a summer solstice morning.
Image Nation NI join Cave Hill Community Campaign on a litter pick
We were approached recently by Sanjay Ghosh of the Indian community organisation Imager Nation NI who wanted to do something for the local community and environment. We agreed a litter lift to happen on 26th June. Around 15 members of that community, some members of the Green party and 7 of our directors spent more than 3 hours lifting litter across the hill. The Indian community members were lovely, full of enthusiasm and drive. At the end of the walk, they provided buns and delicious Indian tea (Chai). The youngest person there, Mia, seen below in her father's arms went the whole way over the top without complaint and with a ready smile. An enjoyable and heart-warming day for all!
Baby Mia and her father back at the Castle after the walk.
Organizing the routes before setting out
At McArt's Fort enjoying the rest - and the view.
Flowers of the Cave Hill
Twelve members joined botanist Karl Hamilton on 17 July for a sunny morning walk through Ballyaghagan to the top of Cave Hill. The return route was by the regular route to the Upper Hightown Road. Karl was a fount of knowledge and a very friendly guide to the wealth of flowers in the unimproved meadows beyond the car park. The weather was glorious and we were also treated to a great variety and number of butterflies. A really enjoyable outing.
The flowers in the photos are the common spotted orchid and the sneezewort.
Botanist, Karl Hamilton
The common spotted orchid and the sneezewort.