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Portstewart Strand


Portstewart Strand County Derry Northern Ireland - Chris Hill Photographic Image courtesy of Tourism Northern Ireland

Portstewart Strand County Derry Northern Ireland - Chris Hill Photographic Image courtesy of Tourism Northern Ireland

Portstewart Strand: A Beach Lover's Paradise

Explore Portstewart Strand's golden sands, towering dunes, and the Bann Estuary for a perfect coastal retreat.

Nestled along the North Antrim Coast, Portstewart Strand, fondly known as "The Strand," has long been a favorite destination for visitors seeking golden sands and pristine waters. This European Blue Flag award-winning beach is renowned for its water quality and dune management, making it a popular spot for families during the summer and walkers all year round.

One of Portstewart Strand's lesser-known features is its towering sand dunes, some of Ireland's tallest. The dunes and adjoining Bann Estuary are designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest. The River Bann, Northern Ireland's longest river, flows into the North Atlantic at this point.

Route Description: Starting and ending at point C811 368, your journey begins at the beach entrance, where parking is allowed on the sand. The first section of the walk is a one-mile stroll along the picturesque strand, heading towards the distant Mussenden Temple, a cliff-edge folly.

After one mile, you'll reach a line of wooden posts stretched across the beach. At this point, the walk heads into the sand dunes. Enter the dunes at the lifebuoy station marked with a No. 10 and climb the wooden sand ladder. At the top, take the right forked sandy path (narrow) and follow the white waymarker posts through the dunes to the estuary.

Points of interest include an active rabbit warren and dune grasslands abundant in wildflowers. Keep an eye out for marram grass, pyramidal and bee orchids, bird's-foot trefoil, wild pansy, and thyme during the summer months. The Bann Estuary offers excellent birdwatching opportunities, such as the handsome shelduck.

Follow the described route along the river and old railway line embankment before reaching the starting point at the beach. To return to the start, simply walk the entire length of Portstewart Strand, with a system of numbered lifebuoy stations counting down your progress.

Please note that National Trust entrance pricing applies for this walk.

Additional Information:

  • Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Terrain: Sandy beach paths
  • Points of interest: Beach Visitor Centre & Sand Dune/Estuary trail
  • Facilities: Beach Visitor Centre, toilets, showers, refreshments, retail, parking
  • Nearest town: Portstewart
  • OS map: Sheet 4
  • Accessible toilet facilities: Yes
  • Accessible terrain: Beach fully accessible (hard sand near tide line); dune/estuary trail not suitable for wheelchair users

Nearby attractions and activities include:

  • Visit the charming town of Portstewart and explore its array of shops and restaurants
  • Take a scenic drive along the Causeway Coastal Route
  • Marvel at the famous Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Uncover the historic ruins of Dunluce Castle
  • Experience the thrill of Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Immerse yourself in the coastal splendor of Portstewart Strand, where golden sands, towering dunes, and the Bann Estuary await your discovery.