Size: 156 ha (385.5 acres)

Grid reference: SB351722

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Set in one of the most iconic landscapes on the island of Ireland, Mourne Park has one of the largest expanses of ancient woodland in Northern Ireland.

Visit to explore over 73ha (180 acres) of ancient woodland, teeming with wildlife, and take in the panoramic views from the summit of Knockchree Mountain.  


  • Public access
  • Good views
  • Spring flowers

How to get to Mourne Park

The 156-hectare site (385 acres), Mourne Park, lies just outside Kilkeel in County Down, halfway between Dublin and Belfast in the tourist hotspot of the Mourne Mountains Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Directions for Kilkeel

Follow the Newry Road (A2) for 2 miles. After a large estate wall on the right, turn right into the old gatehouse entrance, following the sign to Kilkeel Golf Club car park. Continue through the golf club car park to the gravel car park at the driving range. Please view the route from Kilkeel to Mourne Park to get your bearings.

Directions from Rostrevor

From the centre of Rostrevor follow the Shore Road (A2) for almost 7.5 miles. After about 7 miles, pass a large parking layby on the right and an estate wall on the left. Turn left at the old gatehouse and sign for Kilkeel Golf Club. Follow the lane up to the golf club car park. Continue through the golf club car park to the gravel car park at the driving range. Please view the route from Rostrevor to Mourne Park.

The nearest train station is at Newry, 22 miles from the site.

Visit Translink for more information.

The nearest bus stop is Whitewater Bridge on the A2 Newry Road between Kilkeel and Rostrevor, just facing the gate of Mourne Park. Please take the following services:

  • Ulster Bus 39 from Newry
  • Ulster Bus 37 from Newcastle
  • Ulster Bus Town service 125 from Greencastle Street, Kilkeel.

Visit Translink for more information.

Facilities and access

There are plans to install 5km of surfaced paths. You'll find the entrance to the woodland via the car park at the driving range. There are three trails to enjoy graded from easy to moderate.

Although we're working hard to improve access to Mourne Park, there aren't any benches and the site may not be suitable for people with limited mobility or wheelchair users.

Litter bins are available in the car park but not in the woodland.

When you visit, please stick to our designated paths as the surrounding land is privately owned by Mourne Park House and is strictly private.

Parking is available in the gravel car park at the Mourne Country Park Toptracer Driving Range, 228 Newry Rd, Newry BT34 4LB.

Pubilc toilets are available in Kilkeel, The Square, BT34 4FZ, 2.3 miles away.

Wildlife and habitats

Discover Mourne Park's stunning vistas, shady riverside walks and iconic wildlife in the precious ancient woodland and at the summit of Knockchree Hill.


Look out for the native wildlife that thrives here. From the flash of colour as the red squirrel leaps between branches to the splash of otters in the Whitewater River. If you're lucky you might see an inconspicuous chocolate brown pine marten that ventures out at dusk. 

Listen out for the distinctive call of the cuckoo or the screech of the jay. Keep an eye out for buzzard’s flying above and dippers bobbing up and down.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

In spring, Mourne Park is decorated with the blossoms of wild flowers, such as foxgloves and wood anemones. The dense carpet of bluebells and the presence of great wood-rush here signifies the ancient nature of this wood, contrasting beautifully with the green of the trees. 

Look out for yellow-flowered wood avens in damp areas,  heavily-scented honeysuckle weaving up tree trunks and delicate Lords and Ladies that fruit in the summer.  

Keep an eye out for the more exotic species of tree, such as beech, sweet chestnut, sycamore, lime and fir, which are common due to historic estate planting. 

Look out for:


Mourne Park 103 hectares (255 acres) of mature broadleaf woodland and is one of the best woodland habitats remaining in Northern Ireland.

With 73 hectares (180 acres_ of native ancient woodland, Mourne Park contains one of our rarest habitats. Our restoration work will protect and enhance this special woodland habitat allowing this unique haven for wildlife to thrive.


History of Mourne Park

The demesne was founded in the 17th century as part of the family seat of Kilmorey and was admired by 19th century travellers and artists. Many famous people were hosted at the estate including Errol Flynn, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, General Patton and Percy French.

During the Second World War, in anticipation of the Normandy Landings, a tank regiment of the American Army was stationed here. Only the bases of their Nissan huts are still visible today, along with their names, carved into beech trees throughout the woodland.

Mourne Park was bought by the Woodland Trust in 2021. 

Major ancient woodland restoration work has been ongoing for over four years. Each year up to five hectares of invasive species, such as rhododendron and laurel, have been removed, allowing the native ancient woodland to regenerate naturally and native flora to flower. This work will continue to restore and protect the ancient woodland.

Credit: Anne-Marie Kalus / WTML

Boosting red squirrel numbers

Supported by a programme with Mourne Heritage Trust and Ulster Wildlife, the population of the red squirrel has successfully grown and is becoming established. If you tread carefully you might be lucky enough to spot them in the tree canopy of the ancient Scots pine. 

Things to do at Mourne Park

On your visit take in the burble of the Whitewater River and the tranquility of the ancient woodland. There are three new circular walking trails for you to explore:

  • Bluebell walk (1.8km)
  • Whitewater trail (4.4km)
  • Woodland loop (2.7km).

For those of you that are feeling energetic, there is the opportunity to climb Knockchree Mountain to be rewarded with stunning panoramic views over Mourne Park, the southern Mournes, over Carlingford Lough and across the Irish Sea. There are also countless trails to explore.

If you have the time, we would welcome locals to volunteer with us, which is a great way to learn skills and meet new people.

Red squirrel feeding

Support our Mourne Park appeal

Our fundraising continues to give nature and people a chance to thrive at Mourne Park. We have the chance to protect and revitalise it, but we need your support.

Donate today
Other woods nearby