Cedars Walking Group

Cedars Walkers


Antrim Loop

Antrim Forum - BT41 4DT.

Six Mile Water

We meet at the car park of Antrim Marina beside the Lough Shore Coffee House - where Six Mile Water flows into Lough Neagh. The big walk takes in the Antrim Loop - look out for the Six Mile Water Otter Spotters - while the shorter gentler walk will take in the gardens of Antrim Castle and, optionally, the café at Clotworthy House.

Directions

Take the A26 to Antrim and, after driving under the low railway bridge, turn left at traffic lights, taking the A6. Take the second exit on roundabout - continuing on the the A6 (signed to Londonderry, Ballymena and Antrim Forum) and follow this (Belmont Road) until it joins the Dublin Road at a mini roundabout. Take right (again the second exit) following the brown sign to Lough Neagh/Antrim Forum. Turn left on to the Lough Road as you approach Antrim Forum and continue along this road past the forum for about half a mile until you meet up with the rest of the walkers in the car park where the road meets the lough, just beyond the café.

The walks

The big walk takes you along the shore of Lough Neagh and across country to Six Mile Water before returning through Antrim and the Castle Gardens. Shorter walks can include the Clotworthy Arts Centre and café, the Parterre Garden, the "Canals" and Round Pond, the Motte and remains of Antrim Castle.

Antrim Castle

Antrim Castle or Massereene Castle was erected between 1613 and 1662 on the banks of the Sixmilewater River by English settler, Sir Hugh Clotworthy, and enlarged in 1662 by his son, John, First Viscount Massereene.. It was destroyed by fire in 1922 and finally demolished in the 1970s. The only remaining parts of the castle are an Italianate tower built in 1887 and a gatehouse. In the 1680s the castle was raided by Jacobite General Richard Hamilton and his men who looted Viscount Massereene's silver and furniture up to a value of £3,000, a considerable loss at the time.

Antrim Castle was rebuilt in 1813 as a three storey Georgian-Gothic castellated mansion, designed by Dublin architect, John Bowden. The Restoration style doorway of the original castle, featuring heraldry and a head of Charles I, was re-erected as the central feature of the entrance front. It also had tower-like projections at the corners of round angle turrets. A tall octagonal turret of ashlar was added to the front in 1887, when the castle was further enlarged. There was also a 17th-century formal garden, unique in Ulster. The gardens also featured a long canal with another canal at right angles to it, making a T shape, as well as a motte of a Norman castle. Jacobean-Revival outbuildings of coursed rubble basalt with sandstone dressings were built about 1840. The entrance gateway to the demesne has octagonal turrets. The stable block was later converted for use as a family residence and renamed Clotworthy House. This was acquired by Antrim Borough Council and converted for use as an Arts Centre in 1992.