Nugent’s Wood, Portaferry

1.5 mile walk through a National Trust maiitained forest

Formerly part of the Nugent's Estate, "The Wood" or locally referred to as “The Forty Steps” is currently under the management of The National Trust. This serene stroll takes you through a well-established woodland, featuring a diverse mix of broad-leaved trees.

Spanning approximately 1.5 miles, the path offers breathtaking vistas across the Strangford Narrows, providing panoramic views of Audley’s Castle and Castleward. Recently, the walk underwent a magical transformation, inviting visitors to seek out enchanting woodland creature carvings dispersed throughout the area.

Nugent's Wood serves as a habitat for Red Squirrels, with the best sightings typically occurring from September to November. The wood also boasts a splendid array of spring flowers, including bluebells, stitchwort, and honeysuckle.

Situated adjacent to the coast, the invigorating scent of sea air blends harmoniously with the fragrance of pine and wildflowers, creating an exhilarating experience. This exploration through nature is not just a walk but a journey that invigorates the senses and fosters a profound connection with the vibrant surroundings.


Start your walk at the black gate at the end of the row of houses past the Lifeboat Station as you walk away from the town.

Walk along the grass path, enjoying the views across the lough to Castle Ward Bay, until you find the C.S Lewis sculpture.

Continue along the path, through a wooden gate (keeping the stone wall to your left side) follow the woodland path up the small hill and through the woodland – with a watchful eye for the Owl, Fox and Badger sculptures as well as the Butterfly seat and much more.

There are steps to the right (after the Butterfly seat) which take you to more of the woodland you can follow the path round continuing down the steps to a bench where you can catch your breath, enjoy views of The Lough and the tranquil sounds the shore and of woodland birds.

Follow the path under oak and beech trees, keeping an eye out for some great bracket fungus growing on the trees. Continue along, re-joining the original path Enjoy the wildflowers such as bluebells, lesser celandine and cowslip in the spring. In the summer months you can find beautiful Rhododendrons and wild Fox Glove.

When you reach back to the Butterfly seat take the original path back towards to the starting point.


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Nugent's Wood, Lough Shore Road, Portaferry, BT22 1PF

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