Silent Valley Reservoir in the heart of the Mourne Mountains is one of the most beautiful places in Northern Ireland. Here is everything you need to know about visiting the Silent Valley Reservoir.
Situated in the Mourne Mountains near Kilkeel, Silent Valley Reservoir not only supplies most of the water for County Down and Belfast, but it is also a beautiful spot to visit.
Nestled in the heart of the Mournes between Slieve Binnian and Slieve Muck, Silent Valley lives up to its name as one of the most peaceful and tranquil spots in County Down.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful Sunday stroll or going to practice your photography skills in one of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful spots, this valley is the place to visit.
With plenty of options for great walks to suit all abilities, from hikes to casual strolls, here is everything you need to know about Silent Valley Reservoir.
Directions – how to get there
From Belfast, take the M1 south and exit the motorway at Sprucefield (J7) and continue south on A1 towards Newry.
Once you reach Newry, follow the roadsigns for Hilltown via the B8. Continue on to the B27 and take the slight left onto Head Road, which will take you to the car park at Silent Valley Reservoir.
The road from Hilltown to Silent Valley will take you through the mountains and past another reservoir, Spelga Dam, so there is plenty to see on your drive there.
Walks nearby – for a range of abilities
There are plenty of walks to choose from close to Silent Valley Reservoir to suit all desires and abilities. So whether you’re a seasoned hiker looking for a challenging trek or are just looking for a scenic stroll, there are plenty of options.
The Ben Crom trail and the Nature trail are the two easiest walks to in the area and are even suitable for wheelchair users and prams.
For those looking a more challenging hike, we recommend trying out Mountain Access trail, which takes you into to the High Mournes.
Shorter walks in the area include the Silent Valley walk, a 2 miles (3.2 km) long scenic parkland walk and the Silent Valley Nature trail, a 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long flat walk along Kilkeel River.
For a more strenuous day walk, try the 9.3 miles (15 km) long linear Reservoir Views walk, which links the south Mournes to Newcastle via Slieve Binnian, Slievemalagan and the Glen River.
On this walk, you can enjoy fantastic views of Ben Crom and Silent Valley Reservoir from Slieve Binnian and Slieve Lamagan.
Things to know – useful information
The reservoir grounds are open between the hours of 10:00 until 18:30 in summer and 10:00 until 16:00 from October to March.
The car park at Silent Valley Reservoir has capacity for 63 cars, and parking is charged at £4.50 for a car, £27 for a coach, £11 for a minibus, and £2 for a motorbike.
The car park is operated on a first-come-first-served basis and bear in mind that those found to be parking on the road in an unsafe manner may get ticketed by the police.
There are a number of facilities at the reservoir, including toilets, a café, a picnic area, a play area, and parking, as well as accessible toilets and parking.
What to see – some of the best views in the Mournes
Obviously visiting the Silent Valley Reservoir, you can’t miss checking out the beautiful reservoir set in the valley between the mountains.
Head into the visitors centre, which is full of information boards to find out the history and ecology of the local area. And grab a bite to eat in the café onsite.
Heading home, we recommend taking the mountain drive towards Newcastle to take in the stunning surroundings of the Mourne Mountains, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which truly lives up to the title.
End your day in the picturesque seaside town of Newcastle where you can see the majestic Mourne Mountains sweep down to the sea or take a stroll along the beautiful promenade and beach, watching the sunset over Slieve Donard towering overhead.