September is a great time of year to get out on your bike and go exploring. It’s not too cold yet, but not as warm as it was in the height of summer. We thought this week would be perfect timing to bring you a blog post on all of the exciting routes you can take in our home country of Northern Ireland. We've been looking at all of Cycle NI's routes and we've chosen our top 5:
1. Knockchree Cycle Route- Kilkeel, County Down (18 miles)
A beautiful country route between Kilkeel and the country village of Attical. This route allows you to take in breath-taking views of the Mourne Mountains. This route is a circular route allowing you to begin and end in the same place. This route takes you past beautiful scenery such as the Whitewater River, Cranfield beach, Greencastle, and then up through the country roads to take a better look at the mountains. We highly recommend this route if you are in the area.
2. Giants Causeway to Benone Cycle Route- Ballycastle, County Antrim- County Londonderry (22 miles)
Another stunning cycle route takes you along the North Coast of Northern Ireland between the legendary Giants Causeway and Benone, passing through Portrush, Portstewart, Coleraine and Castlerock. Quite a lot of this route follows a traffic-free shared use pathway adjacent to the Giants Causeway & Bushmills Heritage Railway line. With beautiful views of the coastline, this comes in at number 2 on our list of top cycle routes in Northern Ireland.
3. White Rock and Mahee Island Cycle Route, County Down (27 Miles)
This route follows along the western shores of Strangford Lough and Drumlin Country rewards cyclists with some of the finest views of the Lough to be had by bicycle. Castle Espie Wetland Centre and Nendrum monastic site are particular points of interest on this route. Passing through Kilmood and taking time to appreciate the historic St Mary’s Parish Church built in 1820, you can follow the ridge high above Lisbane from where Strangford Lough can be seen off to one side before re-joining the outward route back to Comber.
4. A Country Down Tour, County Down (28 miles)
This route gives a hilly ride through Drumlin country towards the south end of Lisburn. It takes you past lakes and loughs with great views of the Mourne Mountains, Belfast Hills and the Lagan Valley. This route is hilly for the most part with several short steep hills around Annahilt so it is recommended for experienced cyclists and people who are looking for a fitness challenge. There are also several fast descents on return to the Lagan Towpath so remember to take care.
5. Castle Archdale Family Cycle, County Fermanagh (6 miles)
We thought we would finish off our top five with a short 6 mile route that’s perfect for the whole family. The Castle Archdale Family Cycle Route is situated 15km north west of Enniskillen and explores 230 acres of mature forest. Situated on the shores of Lower Lough Erne, this route provides truly beautiful scenery for the whole family to enjoy.