Downhill Beach

Last Updated

Downhill Beach is the start of a 7-mile beach which stretches from the base of the cliffs below Mussenden Temple to the far western point of the Causeway Coast at Magilligan Point, including Benone and Magilligan Beach. Watch out for trains heading along the north coast and through the tunnel in the cliffside. Downhill Beach frequently attains Blue Flag award status, and its extensive sand dunes are renowned as a special area of conservation offering some of the best nature walks on the north coast of northern Ireland.

Jump down to:

Mussenden Temple

Downhill Beach is located beneath Mussenden Temple, one of the most photographed buildings in Northern irelan. It is a stunning golden sandy beach with lush grasslands and a sand dune system looking out on the Atlantic ocean. You can park your car near the beach or drive to it under the tunnel. This beach has won the prestigious Blue Flag award and is one of Ireland’s longest, stretching all the way to Lough Foyle at Magilligan Point. Benone Strand is separated from this beach by the Umbra Burn, a minor river flowing from the cascading waterfalls through the special scientific interest stretch of the sand dunes.

Children love climbing on the rocks near the mountain railway tunnel, which adds to the fun family appeal of Downhill Beach. The beach is also well-known for beach angling, horse riding water sports and the surf offering.

If you walk up towards Mussenden Temple, you will reach the point where the train passes through the mountain tunnel while travelling from or to Coleraine. This experience is heightened by the sensory stimulation of the surroundings and is loved by kids and adults alike, with or without the train! As you walk towards Mussenden Temple on the cliff top, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the scenic walks and the view of the west side of Tunnel Brae. If you are lucky enough to see a train coming out of the tunnel at high speed, you will never forget it; it is an awe-inspiring experience. The view of Mussenden Temple from the beach is also sensational and not to be missed.

 Ulster Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

Between Downhill Beach and Benone Complex lies The Umbra, an Ulster Wildlife Trust of NOrthern ireland Nature Reserve. This special conservation area is protected and showcases a large, undisturbed sand-dune system consisting of dune grasslands, wetter dune slacks, and a small hazel copse. The Umbra stretch of sand dunes is home to a variety of species such as butterflies, moths, bees, rare orchids, adder’s tongue, moonwort, skylarks, mistle thrushes, and many more insects, plants, and birds. It is important to be mindful of the other beings that live underfoot and tread lightly. Additionally, the minor river Umbra flows through Benone bathing beach.


 You can read more on the website for Ulster Wildlife:

Shares a border with Benone Strand

Benone Strand is an excellent beach for adventure sports enthusiasts. You can indulge in activities such as jet skiing, kite surfing, gliding, and surfing. Additionally, you can go fishing, canoeing, cycling, swimming, and walking throughout the year. A lifeguard is available during the high season for your safety, and the Benone Tourist Complex provides excellent holiday facilities for both guests and day visitors. 

Map to Downhill Beach:

Tap the markers for information, or pinch and zoom around the map.

About the author

Originally from Scotland, Colin now resides near the beautiful seaside town of Portstewart on the Causeway Coastal Route. By day he works in IT and by day off he spends much of his time travelling around the Island with his young family, writing about his experiences for many sites both locally and nationally.