Castle Espie Wildlife Wander

Difficulty
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Very Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
0.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
1.4 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
7 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead
Castle Espie Wildlife Wander

The Castle Espie Wildlife Wander is a fantastic walking route in County Down, Northern Ireland that will expose you to the natural beauty of the wetland terrain and showcase the diversity of wildlife in the area. While out walking the trail, you will meander through the wetlands and look out upon the largest collection of geese, ducks, and swans in all of Ireland. The well-maintained paths on this route are perfectly suited for people of all ages and skill levels, including people with wheelchairs and families with pushcarts.

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Route Description for Castle Espie Wildlife Wander

There aren’t really any complaints to be had about the Castle Espie Wildlife Wander, except maybe for the fact that it just isn't long enough! Pathways within the reserve are almost completely flat and are very well-maintained, making them perfectly suitable for a fun family adventure. The wetland scenery here is beautiful and the diversity of wildlife along the trail makes for a fun and unique experience. This route truly is a fantastic way to spend a few hours on the weekend - just be sure to arrive a bit early to secure a parking space!

Setting out from the car park, you will first need to head to the visitor centre. After paying the entrance fee, you can explore the trail system at your own pace, taking in the beautiful wetland sights and pausing to spot the various bird species that can be found in the area. The Castle Espie Wetland Reserve is home to the largest collection of ducks, swans, and geese in all of Ireland, and sees nearly the entire global population of Brent Geese winter here.

Continue making your way along the pathway as it skirts around the various wetland ponds and offers some amazing views across Strangford Lough. Besides this short network of walking trails, you will also find a picnic area, indoor playground, a fantastic cafe, gift shop, and the secret swamp play space for children to connect with nature. After spending a few hours exploring the park and its many pathways, you can simply head back to the car park having completed the Castle Espie Wildlife Wander.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Castle Espie?

Castle Espie is a wetland reserve on the banks of the Strangford Lough that is run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT). There was once a castle that gave the reserve its name; however, it is no longer in existence.

How much does it cost to get into Castle Espie?

For current pricing to enter Castle Espie, you can check out the WWT Website.

Insider Hints for Castle Espie Wildlife Wander

  • Dogs are not allowed on site.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • There is an entrance fee to access the trail.

Getting to the Castle Espie Wildlife Wander Trailhead

To reach the trailhead for the Castle Espie Wildlife Wander from Comber head southeast on Killinchy Street/A21 for 0.8 km and make a left onto Ballydrain Road. Follow this for 3.5 km and turn left to enter the car park.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    Year-Round

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

Castle Espie Wildlife Wander Elevation Graph

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