North Down Coastal Path

Bangor Station. The North Down Coastal Path extends from Holywood in the west to Orlock in the east and it is a favourite with members of our walking group and the public at large because it hugs the coastline route with a wide range of flora and fauna to be observed along its length. Not only that but easy accessibility by train make it one of our more environmentally friendly options with regard to transport.

Waterfall in Crawfordsburn Country Park.

Around 20 members of the group got out of bed a little earlier than normal and let the train take the strain. Most caught the 9:15am leaving Portadown which left Lurgan at 9:21am but Tom and Pauline, up with the lark as usual, caught the 9:06am flyer in Lurgan and sped past the 7 stations between Lisburn and Great Victoria Street. This gave them plenty of time to tuck into a large Ulster Fry unobserved at flower-bedecked Bangor Station and remove the evidence before the main party arrived.

Crawfordsburn railway viaduct. Those of us who had enjoyed a few extra minutes in bed paid the price when we arrived in Bangor because we only had time to enjoy a sausage roll or a scone with our tea and coffee before setting off for the coast. But at least we were better fed than the party who arrived at Sea Park Recreation Grounds in Holywood. Without an ice-cream van or hot dog stand in sight they had to rely on blackberries picked from the hedgerows to give them sustenance on their walk. Not only that, but they had over five miles to walk before they met up with the Bangor bunch who had arrived early enough at Crawfordsburn to include a trip up to the Crawfordsburn waterfall in their itinerary.

The path up to the falls passes under the wonderfully atmospheric railway viaduct (pictured left). The scale of this viaduct helps explain why it took 17 years to complete the stretch of railway between Holywood and Bangor. The Belfast to Bangor line is the last remnant of the Belfast and County Down Railway Company which once had lines to Comber, Newtownards, Donaghadee, Ballynahinch, Downpatrick, Newcastle, Castlewellan and Ardglass. The company's first section of line, from Belfast to Holywood, opened in 1848 with the extension to Bangor opening in 1865.


The Bangor Bunch arrive at the Crawfordsburn waterfall.

Pat dips his toes in Belfast Lough. Paddy drove the minibus to Sea Park where he met up with others who had arrived by car. Among them was Pat who couldn't resist the opportunity to dip his toes into the sea - but that was as much as he wanted to expose to the cool water of Belfast Lough. Jim and Ruth got off the train in Holywood, meeting up with the party at Sea Park and led them without serious incident to Crawfordsburn.

Cormorant with wings a-drying. Along the coastal path we were treated to some close up views of coastal birdlife such as cormorants with wings spread for drying. Blackberries seemed to have passed their best but there were plenty of other flowers and bushes to enliven our walk.

Crocosmia, (below right) commonly known as Montbretia, is a small genus of flowering plants in the iris family, Iridaceae. It is native to the grasslands of Cape Floristic Region, South Africa but has quickly become acclimatised and is a common sight along roads and paths in Ireland.

Crocosmia. Fuchsia: the fuchsia now seems to be a ubiquitous seaside bush. The first of the species brought back to Europe, Fuchsia triphylla, was discovered on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola (present day Dominican Republic and Haiti) in 1703 by the French Minim monk and botanist, Charles Plumier. He named the new genus after the renowned German botanist Leonhart Fuchs.

Blackberry: the term 'bramble', a word meaning any impenetrable scrub, has traditionally been applied specifically to the blackberry. The black fruit is not a true berry; botanically it is termed an aggregate fruit, composed of small drupelets - outer fleshy parts surrounding the pits or stones which contain the seeds of the plant.

Scentless Mayweed: from the family Asteraceae which includes the common daisy. It is a host of several insect pests but is also a source of nectar and pollen for beneficial insects. The sap contains an anti-viral agent that inhibits the growth of polio and herpes viruses.

Ragwort: common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) is a specified weed under the Weeds Act 1959. It contains toxins, which can have debilitating or fatal consequences if eaten by horses and other grazing animals. However, larvae of some lepidoptera species, such as caterpillars of the Cinnabar Moth feed on ragwort making them unpalatable, or worse, to potential predators. The name Senecio, which means "old man", is given to one of the largest genera of flowering plants.

Fuchsia
Fuchsia
Blackberries
Blackberries
Scentless Mayweed
Mayweed
Rag wort
Rag Wort

New Girls


Ann Moore
Ann
Dea
Dea
Heather
Heather
Marian
Marian
Maureen
Maureen
Phyllis
Phyllis
Rosemary
Rosemary
Siobhan
Siobhan