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Ecos Trail

The Trail is signposted and is part of Route 97 of the National Cycle Network (NCN) which meets Route 93 at the coast. It follows mainly quiet minor roads over the Antrim Plateau but there are traffic-free paths within the parkland of the ecos Millennium Environmental Centre. The 3km to Broughshane is a marked on-road cycle path. The route to the coast passes through the village of Broughshane and Buckna then descends towards the coast at Glenarm.

County

Antrim

Nearest Town

Ballymena

Route Type

Hill

AONB

Antrim Coast & Glens

Grid Ref (Start)

D120034

Distance

17 miles

OS Map

9

Route Shape

Linear

On/Off Road

On Public road

Grid Ref (End)

D309154

terrain

Starting from the ecos centre in Ballymena the route gradually ascends some 240 metres for the first 12 miles (19km) before dropping to sea level for the final 5 miles (8km) to arrive in Glenarm.

route description

• From the Ecos Centre building, cross over the footbridge, turn right and follow the traffic-free path to the roundabout on the Broughshane Road.

• At the roundabout, turn right and follow the designated cycle lane on the A42 into Broughshane.

• At Rathkeel Road (SlemishTavern) in the village, turn right and then 100m later take a left onto the Carnalbanagh Road, passing by Houston’s Mill.

• Continue for 1.5 miles (2km) and then take the first left onto the Buckna Road.

• About 2 miles later (3km) and just opposite Buckna Presbyterian Church in the village, is a signpost for Slemish Mountain. It will be an uphill climb of about one and a half miles (2.4km) to get to the car park at the foot of Slemish but is worth the effort. You can walk to the top of this landmark volcanic plug which is 437m above sea level. This section is not NCN signed, but it is signed for Slemish along The Cuttings, Carnalbanagh Road, Carnstroan Road and Carnstroan Lane so you can’t go wrong.

• Follow the same roads back down again to rejoin the Ecos Cycle Trail in Buckna and turn right.

• After about 400m, take the Kilnacolpagh Road on the right. Three miles (5km) later you meet cross roads - go straight ahead and 4 miles (7km) later turn left at the T-junction. Notice the beautiful patchwork of traditional stone walls that mark out fields in this area.

• About 2 miles (3km) later at the next T-junction, turn right onto the B97.

• From here it is a 3 mile (5km) downhill into Glenarm village with fantastic views overlooking the softly wooded Glenarm Glen.

• At the next T-junction turn right onto the Straidkilly Road and less than half a mile (1 km) later you meet Route 93 on the Antrim Coast Road and the village of Glenarm, passing the entrance into Glenarm Castle Walled Garden.

getting to the start

Ballymena is serviced by a rail link between Belfast and Londonderry which has facilities for carrying 4 bicycles except before 9:30 am Monday to Friday. For timetables visit: www.translink.co.uk or phone (028) 9066 6630. The Ecos Centre is clearly signposted from the railway station and from the M2 motorway for those travelling by car.

traffic

Usually quiet with occasional slow-moving farm vehicles and delivery lorries.

facilities

There are a large variety of facilities available in Broughshane including the Thatch Inn; two storeys, six bay 18th century building with thatch roof. Glenarm has a café at the walled garden (see above) and in Sally’s Café on Toberwine Street in the village. There are public toilets at Broughshane, Slemish mountain and Glenarm village.

information for People with a Disability

The Ecos Centre is equipped with facilities for the disabled. The steepest section of road is the short road leading to Slemish, going up to 300m. The other hills to Glenarm reach 200m.

available publications

Ecos Cycle Trail brochure

Available from Ballymena Tourist Information Centre Tel: 028 2563 5900 and Larne Tourist Information Centre Tel: (028) 2826 0088.

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