Quality Walk

Silent Valley Challenge Trail

Take on the most challenging walk in the Silent Valley. This walks take in the best of walking routes in the area including the Nature Trail, Mourne Wall and spectacular views across the dam from the viewpoint area.




1.9 miles

OS Map

Sheet 29

Nearest Town


Route Shape


Route Type

Parkland & Grassland


Easy well laid paths

Grid Reference (Start)


Grid Reference (End)


Point of Interest

Silent Valley reservoir, Watertown, Mourne wall, granite quarry and natural heritage

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Route Description

Stone way-markers are in place to help guide you. Follow the blue arrows for the Challenge Trail. From the main car park, follow the sign for the Nature Trail until you reach a fork. Take the trail to the right hand side, crossing the bridge over the Kilkeel River. When you come to a sign for Watertown, take the steps up onto the road and turn left, continuing until you reach a junction. At this point you can see the concrete footings of some of the Watertown Houses (this temporary settlement was constructed in 1923 to accommodate the dam builders). Follow the stone way-markers which lead you initially to the right and then left, as you climb the slope up to the Mourne Wall. The Challenge Trail veers off to the right in the direction of the Silent Valley reservoir. Enjoy the views across the dam from the viewpoint area. Follow the trail, making your way downhill again towards the reservoir embankment. Way-markers guide you through the woodland area, past Sally Lough and back to the main car park.

Getting to the Start (by Public Transport)

During the summer months, Translink operate the Mourne Rambler Service- a circular route that stops at the gates of the Silent Valley. More information can be found on the Translink website.

Getting to the Start (by Car)

The route begins in the main car park reached through the gates on the Head Road on the south side of the Mournes. The Silent Valley is sign posted for drivers travelling south from Newcastle and north from Kilkeel. There is an entrance fee.


Dogs are allowed. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a lead.

Accessibility Grade

Grade 4

Accessible Facilities

The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility:

Disabled parking
Disabled toilets


Toilets and refreshments available during summer months and public holidays at Silent Valley restaurant and information centre or in nearby Kilkeel.

Walk Location
Map of Northern Ireland
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