Don’t let the winter temperatures and dark nights get you down, why not get off the sofa and get moving. Dogs need plenty of exercise throughout the year and the best way to keep them active in winter is to take them for regular walks.

Even a short walk on a cold day can make a big difference, so why not begin this year with a resolution for better health for you and your dog!

We’ve selected a few favourite trails to get you started.

Drumkeeragh Forest, Ballynahinch

Offering panoramic views of Slieve Croob, the Mourne Mountains and the rolling hills of the County Down countryside Drumkeeragh Forest offers 20km (12.4 miles) of waymarked trails exploring the forest. Choose from three unique trails of varying length and grade.

Please note: These trails are multi-use for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders so please exercise appropriate caution and respect other trail users. Dogs must be kept on a lead.

Quoile River Walk, Downpatrick

A hidden gem, this walk takes you from the busy town of Downpatrick past the historic Mound of Down to quiet trails along the banks of the Quoile River. Dogs must be kept on a lead.

Murlough National Nature Reserve

Explore the natural beauty of Murlough with the three-mile North Point trail to discover this special place. Dogs can run on the beach but must be kept on a lead to avoid disturbing wildlife or damaging whilst in the reserve.

Montalto Estate, Ballynahinch

Lots of routes and trails to explore around the lake or gardens. Tables are available where visitors with dogs are welcome to picnic, plus there are water bowls and spots where dog leads can be attached in the stable yard. There is also a dog exercise area available where dogs can exercise off the lead.

Kilbroney Forest Park

Situated in a stunning location close to the town of Rostrevor, Kilbroney provides an idyllic and relaxed environment with open parkland, woodland, and riverside walks, the perfect place to unwind. Dogs must be kept on a lead and are welcome in the café outside seating area. Entrance is free with the exception of certain events.

Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle

Covering an area of almost 630 hectares, the park has lots of waymarked trails to choose from, no doubt you’ll sniff them out together. Dogs should be kept on a lead.

Our friends at Mourne Heritage Trust encourage all dog owners to keep their dogs on leads at all times while out in the hills. The presence and scent of dogs will disturb any wildlife in that area, particularly ground nesting birds, and the sheep are now in lamb and back out on the mountain in the usual areas.

Derrymore House, Bessbrook, Newry

A National Trust Property, Derrymore House is an elegant thatched cottage that stands amid a picturesque landscape estate less than 2 miles from Newry. Take your dog for a stroll through acres of picturesque parkland and woodland. Complete with an off-lead area, dog water bowls and additional facilities for dogs.

Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh

Situated on the shores of Strangford Lough in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh, Co Down, offers  peace, beauty and tranquillity. The stunning views across Strangford Lough and the relaxing atmosphere make Delamont Country Park a place to enjoy that 'away from it all feeling. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times, however, there is a dog exercise field where leads are not required.  Dogs are not permitted in the Children's Play Park.

Ballyhornan Beach, Ardglass

Ballyhornan Beach is located on the Lecale Way and is a sandy beach surrounded by cliffs. Dogs can run off lead, but must be under control.

Castle ward, Strangford

There are 32km of trails to explore on foot, by bike or on horseback, each providing a different view of the surrounding landscape. From beauty spots like Temple Water, a man-made canal, to a tranquil bench in a hidden corner of the boundary trail, there's always more to discover on your journey. We ask that dogs remain on leads while on the trails and have a dedicated exercise field where your dog is free to run safely. 


So grab your lead during “Walk Your Dog” month and head for some of Visit Mourne’s most breath taking walks, it’s the perfect time to blend exercise with bonding time for you and your dog.  All our bins now take your dog waste so remember to scoop the poop.  Have a great walk!

Click here for more pet friendly places to eat.

If you fancy staying over to experience all these wonderful walks, click here for pet friendly accommodation  

Where’s your favourite place to walk with your dog? Share pictures of you and your pooch out on the trail on social media using #VisitMourne, #MourneMountains, #RingofGullion, #StrangfordLough

Murlough Beach
Beach
Murlough Beach

This 5 mile stretch of golden sands is still the essence of the resort and is hugely popular for swimming, sunbathing and other forms of recreation.

Montalto Estate
Historic Sites, Houses, Castles & Buildings
Picture of Montalto House, Montalto Lake and Boathouse all within Montalto Estate in Ballynahinch.

Montalto Estate in Ballynahinch is a mystical and enchanting estate, set in magnificent natural surroundings. Visitor experience includes access to the estate's beautiful gardens; historic walks and trails and an exciting play area where children can engage, explore and learn.

Kilbroney Park
Forest Parks
Kilbroney Park

Kilbroney Park Forest features riverside walks and an arboretum. There is a two-mile forest drive which showcases panoramic views over Carlingford Lough. There is also a Play Park with children's play area and tennis courts, an Information area and a café all on site.

Tollymore Forest Park
Forest Parks
Tollymore Forest Park
Drumkeeragh Forest Park
Forest Parks
Drumkeeragh Forest Park

A small car park for visitors is located off the Drumnaquoile Road and an extensive forest road system offers access for walkers to most parts of the forest.

Quoile Pondage Nature Reserve and Countryside Centre
Nature and Wildlife
Quoile Pondage Nature Reserve and Countryside Centre

The Reserve provides a relaxing natural retreat and offers visitors tranquil riverside and woodland walks.

Derrymore House
The National Trust
Derrymore House

A National Trust Property, Derrymore House is an elegant thatched cottage that stands amid a picturesque landscape estate less than 2 miles from Newry.

Delamont Country Park
Public Park
Child climbing and another on a slide in the play park, at Delamont Country Park.

Situated on the shores of Strangford Lough in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh offers peace, beauty and tranquillity. The stunning views across Strangford Lough and the relaxing atmosphere make Delamont Country Park a place to enjoy that 'away from it all feeling'. It is home of the Strangford Stone - the tallest megalith in Ireland. This beautiful 200-acre Country Park offers a great day out for visitors of all ages. Whether you are a keen walker, a nature lover or simply looking for a great day out for all the family you will find plenty to entertain you in Delamont Country Park.

Castle Ward
The National Trust
Castle Ward

Discover a place of contrasts and creativity at Castle Ward, an eccentric 18th century mansion and estate looking out over the tranquil waters of Strangford Lough in County Down where visitors can explore cultivated gardens, sheltered woodland and the shoreline.