Cycle Northern Ireland -

Lecale Cycle Route

A 37 mile circular route through the Lecale district of Co Down, starting and ending in Downpatrick. The route can be reduced by taking one of many alternative routes. The route visits many pre-historic and more recent buildings and artefacts. There is also the possibility to visit the golden beach at Ballyhornan. Tyrella Beach is also a very popular attraction which lies nearby.

Nearest TownDownpatrick
Distance37 miles miles
OS MapSheet 21
Route TypeCoastal, Parkland and Grassland, Urban
Route ShapeCircular
Public RoadsOn Public Road
AONBLecale Coast
Grid Ref (Start)J484445
Grid Ref (End)J484445


Public roads and off road paths.

Point of Interest

Loughinisland historic churches
Ballynoe stone circle
Kilclief castle

Route Description

The Lecale district of County Down, made famous in song by Van Morrison, is criss-crossed with a network of roads most of which are nearly traffic free. At 37 miles this route may appear long but it can easily be reduced by taking any one of the many alternative roads. The route meanders through an area abundant in pre-historic and more recent buildings and artefacts. Starting in Downpatrick close to Down Cathedral, you will pass close to the Racecourse and Ballydugan Lake before reaching Loughinisland and historic churches. Re-crossing the A25, you pass close to the mysterious Ballynoe Stone Circles before reaching the coast at Ballyhornan and its golden beach. Following the shoreline north to Kilclief Castle (open to the public) the route turns inland then southwards through the villages of Ballyculter and Ballycruttle before turning towards Downpatrick. Parts of this route are suitable for off-road bikes only.

Getting to the Start

From Belfast take the A7 to Downpatrick and follow the signs for Down Cathedral.
From Newcastle take the A2 as far as Clough then take the A25 to Downpatrick and follow signs for Down Cathedral.
From Ballynahinch take the B2 to Downpatrick.


Limited traffic on mostly minor roads.


Ample carparking, toilets and refreshments available in Downpatrick. Public toilets available in Ballynornan but opening times vary.

Information for People with a Disability

This route has accessible toilet facilities.

Mostly minor public roads with some hilly sections.

Available Publication

Armagh & Down Cycling Guide

Tourist Information Offices in Newcastle and Downpatrick.


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.