Way to go: Mount Stewart and Strangford Lough, Co Down
OS of Northern Ireland 1:50,000 Discoverer 21; Mount Stewart garden map from National Trust shop; downloadable map/ instructions (highly recommended) at walkni.com.
Rail/bus (integrated website nirailways.co.uk) -- Ulsterbus 10 (Belfast-Portaferry); road -- A20 Newtownards-Portaferry.
Make a circuit of the Mount Stewart gardens and grounds, then walk out across Strangford Lough at low tide to Chapel Island.
NB: Tides and soft sands can make the Strangford Lough section dangerous. Only do this walk as part of a guided group -- contact Mount Stewart (see below) or David Thompson (028 4488 1204) for details.
Five miles -- allow three hours.
Muddy across Strangford Lough -- wear wellingtons/ waterproof boots.
Dodo Terrace; sensational skies and birds; chapel remains.
Bay Restaurant, Mount Stewart (024 4278 7805).
The Cuan Guest House, 4 The Square, Strangford, BT30 7ND (024 4488 1222; thecuan.com) -- delightful, comfortable and very friendly stopover.
GUIDE BOOKS/LEAFLETS: From National Trust shop. Newtownards Tourist Office: Regent Street (024 9182 6846); discovernorthern ireland.com; discoverireland.ie/walking; Mount Stewart (National Trust): 024 4278 8387; nationaltrust.org.uk.
Upcoming Events: Ballyhoura International Walking Festival, Co Limerick, May 1-3. See: ballyhoura country.com/events.