Orlock Point is a National Trust area in Donaghadee offering up a 3 mile walk along the shore. Under 20 miles from Belfast my sister and I went for a brisk walk on a fresh February day.
From Belfast take the A2 on past Groomsport and after the turn off for Orlock Road take the next small left hand turn into the small parking area. The coastal terrain is varied with rocks, stone stile steps, farmland and sheltered shingle bays so footwear with a good tread is advisable.
Donaghadee is a small town on the northeast coast of the Ards Pennisula. Just three miles from the harbour lie the three islands of the Copelands which are clearly visible along the walk, Copeland is derived from a Nordic name meaning merchants’ land echoing the island’s use as a trading post for Vikings. Of the three islands only one is now inhabited (The Big Island), Mew Island has the relocated lighthouse of Lighthouse Island which is now managed by the Copeland Bird Observatory. With records of breeding birds and less common species you’ll no doubt find plenty of avian activity. You can read more about my trip to the Copeland Islands here.
On a clear day beyond the Copelands you can see the Scottish Island of Ailsa Craig and the Mull of Kintyre. But as well as appreciating it’s geographical location you can take in the history the area as the path takes you under the archway of the old Coach Road believed to have aided smugglers of tobacco and spirits through the nearby islands.
A little further along the shingle bays will take you to a Second World War look out, the vantage point where soldiers once stood to detect German sea and air craft approaching the harbour of Belfast.
It now provides an ideal spot for sheltered birdwatching or to catch a glimpse of seals basking on the rocks.
The short route ends at Sandeel bay where you can take the residential route back to your starting point or retrace your steps. With an area of such outstanding beauty I would recommend you double back and enjoy it all again.