Coastal walks have many benefits both for the body and mind. Walking as exercise helps you improve your cardiovascular health and strengthen muscles while reducing stress and boosting your vitamin D intake.
Walking also helps improve your mood, reduce stress and encourage mindfulness. The coast’s sights, sounds, and smells can stimulate the senses and inspire creativity.
Cork is in no shortage of incredible scenery, that’s best seen on foot. There’s plenty of easy walks in Cork to choose from whatever your level of fitness is – ideal for a family walk. Here are some of our favourite walking trails in the rebel county:
1. Old head of Kinsale Loop
If you are looking for a 5km walk or more in Cork the Old head of Kinsale Loop is the perfect walk for you. This stunning 6km walk takes around 1.5 hours to complete making it both an easy and enjoyable walking trail, perfect for the entire family. Scenery is incredible – you can expect impressive coastal and cliff views over the Atlantic Ocean. Other points of interest along the trail include ruins of a Celtic fort believed to have been built in 100 BC and the black and white lighthouse.
The loop begins and ends at the Speckled Door Bar and Restaurant so why not treat yourself to well-deserved pint when you’ve finished.
2. Mount Hillary Loop
The Mount Hillary Loop forest walk in Cork is around 10km long and is safe to tackle in the dark – sunrise hike anyone for the perfect Instagram photo? This nice walk in Cork will take you through tranquil woodlands and forest paths decorated with fir and pine trees as you assent to Mount Hillary summit where you’ll be awarded with spectacular views of Cork and Waterford.
The steepest part of this trail is at the beginning, but the trail then levels out. Throughout the walk you’ll have climbed an impressive but doable incline of 290m. When you see that view at the summit, you’ll know why Mount Hillary Loop is a favourite among cork hill walkers.
3. Ballycotton Cliff Walk
The Ballycotton Cliff Walk is not to be missed, especially when the sun is shining – beautiful views. This 13km walk weaves its way along the Cork coast and showcases spectacular scenes of Ballycotton Lighthouse and the Wild Atlantic Way. Along the way you’ll discover a small beach that makes the perfect location for a quick dip and a picnic great bonding day with your family – make the most of cork with your loved ones. If 13km is a bit longer than you were expecting, you can choose a section of the trail to enjoy and make it the perfect 5km walk in Cork instead.
4. Ballincollig Gunpowder Trails
Located in Ballincollig town’s regional park, the Gunpowder walking trails were launched in Cork in 2014 following public interest in the park and its history. Once used by the British armed forces, the park was home to the second largest gunpowder production facility in Ireland and the UK. Today, the ruins of over 60 buildings are dotted throughout the park and guests have multiple options of walking trails and lengths to enjoy in it.
Trail options include a 1km walk through the park and woodland, a 5km Powdermills Trail through the mill ruins, and a 7km Military Trail, which takes in the former barracks and town centre. The hard surface trails are suitable walks for the entire family as they are accessible for prams, buggies, and wheelchairs.
5. Courtmacsherry to Ballinglanna: Seven Heads Peninsula Walk
Set upon the famous West Cork coastline, the Seven Heads Peninsula walk starts at Courtmacsherry and passes through the rugged cliffs and shorelines that precede Dunworley Bay and continues through Barryscove and Ardgehane before reaching Ballinglanna. The walk is 42k in total with a selection of routes to suit the time and energy available. This walk is worth it, you just need to set aside time when visiting Cork to go exploring.
Along the walk, you’ll witness the magnificent marine life, sandy beaches, picturesque villages and farms and the thriving local birdlife, flora, and fauna.
The Carrigaline-to-Crosshaven walk is a greenway route that walkers can begin at either end: Kilnagleary Car Park near or Carrigaline or at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven. The walk is 5k long and follows the old Cork railway line that was operated from 1904 to 1932. The pathway is now reserved for pedestrians and cyclists.
You can expect sensational views on the greenway as you travel alongside the Owenabue River that is home to a variety of wildlife and birds as well as “Drake’s Pool” – the famous cove that was used as a refuge by soldiers in 1587. There are picnic areas along the route to take a break and enjoy the scenery.
Four-Star Family Hotel in Cork
Family-friendly breaks are our forte at Clayton Silver Springs. We have a range of special offers across our family stay packages that include discounted admission to local attractions. There’s also a Kids’ Club, activities, outdoor playground, and a specially created children’s menu at our family-friendly restaurant. Take a day to spend some quality time with the family by exploring cork by foot and attempting one of the breath-taking walks listed above in proximity to the hotel. You will not be disappointed – great family photo opportunities.
Get ready for a fantastic family holiday at Clayton Silver Springs. If you want to know more about booking your perfect couple or family break in Cork, Contact us today!