The Sheep's Head Way : Main Trail



Start/Finish : Bantry West Trailhead

Grade : Varies (parts easy, moderate to difficult)

Distance : 93Km approx. (Excluding loop and linear walks)

Estimated Time : 5 to 6 Days

Metres Climb/Ascent : 1,626m Max.

Height : 236m

Minimum Gear : Walking boots, rain gear, fluid and a mobile phone.

The Sheep’s Head Way is a long distance walking route over 250km encompassing the Sheep’s Head Peninsula and the general Bantry area. It also connects to Whiddy Island by ferry and to Drimoleague at the east, Mealagh, Kealkill and Carriganass linking up with the Beara Breifne Way en route to Gougane Barra. The Main Sheep’s Head Way is 93 Km approximately, starting in Bantry, taking in the Bantry Bay and Dunmanus Bay sides of the Peninsula and out to the Sheep’s Head Lighthouse, before returning back to Bantry. The walker can experience spectacular views from various ridges, shoreline, cliff tops and lakes, this includes also numerous monastic, archaeological and historical sites. Within this there are ten Failte Ireland Loop walks with trail heads at Carriganas, Mealagh, Drimoleague, Bantry, Durrus, Ahakista, Kilcrohane, Dun Oir, The Goat’s Path, The Black Gate and Tooreen. These are colour coded and afford the self guided walker to a wide variety of walking experiences from one to seven hours duration. Consult the guide to the Sheep’s Head Way which is available from numerous local outlets. For Eastern routes consult the Drimoleague Hearitage Walkway booklet. This is predominantly a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and NHA National Heritage Area and was awarded the European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) for the development of sustainable Tourism.

Note : Be aware of weather conditions. Be aware of any livestock on the land, especially any Bulls. Please do not exit marked trails only on marked routes. No dogs are allowed on The Sheep’s Head Way. Emergency: Phone 999 or 112 and state whether you need Ambulance, Gardaí (police), Fire Brigade or Mountain Rescue. To identify your location please quote the number of the nearest way marker pole or your GPS/grid co-ordinates.

LEAVE NO TRACE • plan ahead and prepare • be considerate of others • respect farm animals and wildlife • leave what you find • camp on approved sites or with landowners permission • dispose of waste properly

Practising a Leave No Trace ethic is very simple: make it hard for others to see or hear you and leave no trace of your visit.