Quality Walk

Portmore Lough

If you enjoy walking and wildlife, Portmore Lough is a great day out at any time of year. During the summer the traditional hay meadows alongside the Lough attract a bewildering variety of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, while in the winter, greylag geese, whooper swans and thousands of ducks can be seen from the hide on the Lough edge. 

The reserve is also home to a herd of konik ponies, which graze the land and help create perfect conditions for breeding birds like lapwings.

If you're coming in winter, we recommend wearing strong boots.




1 miles

OS Map


Nearest Town


Route Shape


Route Type



Gravel paths and boardwalk

Grid Reference (Start)


Grid Reference (End)


Point of Interest

Visitor centre, Portmore Lough, bird hide, wildflower meadow

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Other Area

Route Description

From the visitor centre, follow the all weather path along the boardwalk to the bird hide. Retrace your steps to the car park and follow the path around the wooded nature area and the wildflower meadow to arrive back at the visitor centre. 

Getting to the Start (by Public Transport)

Translink - journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

Getting to the Start (by Car)

The reserve is signposted from Aghalee village. From the M1 motorway come off at Junction 9, Moira roundabout, and head up the A26 towards the International Airport and Antrim. Go under the railway bridge and pass the Glenavy Road Service Station on the right. Take the second road on the left. It is signposted Aghalee. This is the Soldierstown Road. Go to Aghalee. From the north, travel towards Moira down the A26 as far as the Soldierstown Road, signposted Aghalee and go to Aghalee. From the Soldierstown Road at Aghalee Village turn left at the T-junction as signposted and head into the village. After a slight bend in the road, before the shops and petrol station turn right into the Ballycairn Road which is signposted Portmore Lough Reserve. Note sometimes the sign becomes bent in the wrong direction by lorries so be careful. Stay on the Ballycairn Road for approx 3 miles until a T-junction. Opposite is the Gawleys Gate Inn. Here turn right and follow this straight road for approx 1 mile until a series of bends. After these bends RSPB Portmore Lough Reserve is signposted to the right, up Georges Island Road. At a sharp left hand bend, at the top of Georges Island Road, turn right up a track beside a white gable wall. This will lead to the entrance of the Reserve


Dogs are allowed. Dogs are allowed anywhere. They must be kept under close control at all times. During the bird breeding season, this may mean on a lead. Please check reserve notices for current restrictions. It is essential that you clean up after your dog

Accessibility Grade

Grade 3

Boardwalk suitable for wheelchairs with access to the bird hide

Accessible Facilities

The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility:

Disabled parking
Disabled toilets
Visitors Centre


Visitor centre, community room, toilets, car parking, information panels, bird hide



Publication Availability


Walk Location
Map of Northern Ireland
Image Gallery