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- In the Mourne mountains with easy access to the Trassey Track
- Close to Newcastle, the coast and Tullymore Forest Park
- Well-equipped kitchen and communal barn with woodburning stove
If you've never visited or stayed among the Mourne mountains in N Ireland's Co Down, you've been mightily missing out.
With Northern Ireland's highest peak (Slieve Donard, but you knew that), the mountains are a designated Area of Natural Beauty – and did you know they inspired one Mr Lewis to write The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and that they've been one of the many viewsome backdrops for Game of Thrones? Go: they're fab.
After a long day's happy hiking and wildlife watching, rest up back at Gorse Hill Farm, a popular Mournes site ten minutes from seaside town Newcastle and with easy access to the Trassey Track, one of the best spots among the Mournes for hiking and mountain biking. N Ireland's first state forest Tollymore Forest Park is only five minutes' drive away.
The farm specialises in catering for youth groups like the Duke of Edinburgh awards, but is also a handy base for mountain stays for all ages. Camping is on grass tent pitches and guests have access to a well-equipped shared kitchen with a gas hob, an electric oven, a microwave, a kettle, a toaster and a fridge. Toilets are also available, along with two showers.
And another big bonus after a long day hiking or mountain biking? Gorse Hill also has a big communal barn comfortably fitting up to 55 people and equipped with a woodburning stove, for long cosy evenings socialising around the fire. The stove is free for all guests to use: just bring your own logs if you want to fire it up.
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However, where the pitch or accommodation occupancy allows it, you can make a booking for up to 30 adults and 30 children in one booking.
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quiet campsite, clean toilets, fully equipped kitchen!
Very warm welcome, and were shown around the site. Beautiful ...
Leisure on site
Bar or club house
Indoor swimming pool
Outdoor swimming pool
Amenities on site
Ice pack freezing
Parent & baby washroom
Pick-up from public transport
Gas cylinders available
Commercial vehicles allowed
No dogs allowed
Lake and/or mountain
Cycle hire nearby
Horse riding nearby
Indoor pool nearby
Mountain biking nearby
Outdoor pool nearby
D. of E. welcome
Single-sex groups welcome
Student groups welcome
Public transport nearby
Small (11-25 pitches)
This is a topping spot for outdoor days, hiking or biking around the mountains or meandering to the local dams like Fofanny Dam two minutes away and the Spelga Dam within five minutes' drive.
Tollymore Forest Park and the Tollymore National Outdoor Centre are also close by, and if you just must have more foresty walks or bike rides, both Castlewellan Forest Park and the Silent Valley are ten minutes by car.
The small seaside town of Newcastle is also ten minutes' drive away from the farm, at the foot of Slieve Donard. Head here for shops, a sandy beach, the famed Royal County Down Golf Club (one the faves of Tiger Wood) and, between Newcastle and Dundrum, the National Trust-managed sand dunes and beach of the Murlough Nature Reserve.
- Castle Ward (19.9 miles)
- Grand Opera House (26.6 miles)
- Harland And Wolff Shipyard (26.9 miles)
- Derrymore House (15.0 miles)
- Rowallane Garden (18.0 miles)
Find local routes on the National Cycle Network - over 12,000 miles of cycling routes.