Cycle Northern Ireland -

Whiterock and Mahee Island

This 27 mile route 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. This route is part of regional cycle route 20.

Nearest TownComber
Distance27 miles miles
Route TypeLakeland, Parkland and Grassland
Route ShapeCircular
Public RoadsOn Public Road
AONBStrangford Lough
Grid Ref (Start)J457690
Grid Ref (End)J457690


Terrain rating is classed as "medium" moving along public roads with some climbs.

Point of Interest

Some of the points of interest you may see on your cycle include the following:
Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Comber
Nendrum Monastic Site
Mahee Island
Mahee Castle
Sketrick Castle
Tullynakill Church

Route Description

Setting out from Comber town centre, follow signposts for Castle Espie Wetland Centre The route then follows the signposts for Mahee Island and Nendrum Monastic site. After Whiterock, leave the shoreline and turn inland. You will note that farming is the main industry, with some of the roads at times demonstrating this! Passing through the hamlet of Kilmood, with its fine church, you can follow the ridge high above Lisbane from where Strangford Lough can be seen off to one side before rejoining the outward route back to Comber.

Getting to the Start

Comber can be accessed by bike from Belfast via the Comber Greenway. Access is available from Dee Street in East Belfast, (NCN 99) and it is seven miles to Comber. At the Greenway exit on the Belfast Road, Comber follow signs for Comber town centre and then Castle Espie to start the route. For further information visit

Public transport is available from Belfast and other towns to Comber. Visit for timetables. Bikes can also be hired from Mike the Bike, 53 Frances Street, Newtownards T: 028 9181 1311.

By car, from Newtownards, take the A21 to Comber, from Belfast the A22, Saintfield the A21and from Killyleagh/Downpatrick the A22. Car parking is available in Comber town centre including Castle Street/Bridge Street north, Killinchy Street and Newtownards Road.


The route is based mainly on country roads which are reasonably quiet. However traffic encountered may include farm vehicles as well as cars. Care should be taken at all times, particularly if cycling with young children.


Refreshment facilities, toilets and disabled car parking are available in both Comber town centre and also at Castle Espie. Toilets are available at Nendrum monastic site which operates seasonal opening.

Information for People with a Disability

This route has accessible toilet facilities.

Please contact Bike Dock, 79-85 Ravenhill Road, Belfast T: 028 9073 0600 for further information regarding bikes or trikes for those with special needs.
The route is based mostly on quiet country roads, with reasonable surfaces. Care should still be taken even if the roads appear quiet.

Available Publication

The route is included in a downloadable guide only available from this website.

This guide is no longer in print so can only be downloaded from this website.


Contact Ards Tourist Information Centre T: 028 9182 6846 or E: for further advice on other cycle routes in the Ards Borough.

This information is provided by Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, The Stableyard, Barnett's Demesne, Malone Road, Belfast, BT9 5PB.

Tel: 028 9030 3930
Fax: 028 9062 6248

Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of the information. We cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions but where such are brought to our attention, the information will be amended accordingly.