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.
What you should know beforehand:
Participants will be required to wear face-covering for the duration of the walks. Although the events take place outside and numbers participating will be no more than 30, social distancing of one meter will be observed.
We are pleased to say that, with the ease in restrictions, we are able to recommence our programme of events beginning with The Trees of the Cave Hill, led by Karl Hamilton, on Saturday 1st August at 10.00. Details 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.
Organised Walks and Activities in 2020:
Easy Walks are grade E. Challenging walks are grade M.
Saturday 18th 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 2nd 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 16th 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 30th 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 20th 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.
New date Saturday 1st August
10:00-13:00 The Trees of Cave Hill.
There are lots of both native and exotic trees in the Park and Karl Hamilton will introduce them to us. Meet at the Castle.
Saturday 15th August
10:00-13:00 Forage on Cave Hill.
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 4th 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 19th 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 17th 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. Meet at the Castle.
Saturday 31st October
19:30-22:00 Cave Hill by moonlight.
A chance to look down on Belfast by night, enhanced by all the fireworks visible that night. Meet at the Castle.