Boy plays by tree

Places to breathe

Portaferry is surrounded by astonishingly beautiful natural heritage. Here are a few highlights.

Ballyquintin

This 47 hectares farm is at the southern tip of the Ards Peninsula and is managed by the National Trust using traditional mixed farming methods. The farm provides habitats to a range of increasingly rare farmland wildlife such as the Irish Hare. Open all year round – dawn to dusk.

Cost: Free.
Directions: From Newtownards take A20 to Portaferry.  Follow signs to Ballyquintin.
Website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/strangford-lough

Burr Point

An excellent bird-watching location, Burr Point gives views to the most easterly point in Ireland, Burial Island, a nesting site for terns.  

Burr Point is 2km south of Ballyhalbert.

Corrog Wood

mossy branch

Six hectares of land were purchased by the Woodland Trust in 2000 to create a native oak wood on the Ards, most having been felled for shipbuilding in earlier centuries. Irish hares and birds of prey can be seen here. Open all year.

Cost: Free.
Directions: Located on the A20 approximately 2 miles north of Portaferry.

Strangford Lough landscapes and seascapes

Glastry Nature Reserve, Ballyhalbert

These flooded clay pits are now managed by the National Trust as a wildlife reserve. There is a carpark and pleasant walks around the lakes. Open all year.

Cost: Free.
Directions: From Shore Road in Ballyhalbert, turn right into High Street and continue for about ½ mile. The reserve is on the left.

Knockinelder Beach

A beautiful and unspoilt beach, dominated on its southern aspect by Quintin Castle (private property). It has eight acres of sand to roam on, low lying rocks to play on and is popular with swimmers and windsurfers. A rugged coastal walk leads to nearby Kearney village (19th century village restored by the National Trust). The Isle of Man can be seen on a clear day, also a good site for birdwatching. Public toilets available at Kearney. Open all year.

Cost: Free.
Directions: Located three miles south of Cloughey.

Windmill Hill

Windmill Hill

This location provides fabulous views of Strangford Lough from Rock Angus at the entrance to the lough to Scrabo Tower at the northern end. Across the narrows is the expanse of Castleward estate, picturesque Strangford village and closer still the woods of Portaferry Demesne. Looking east across the Irish Sea the Isle of Man and, on a clear day Scotland, can be seen on the horizon.

Directions: Windmill Hill is half a mile southeast of the centre of Portaferry.