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Mournes Epics, Down

Badger Rating 3.8/5
The Mournes have lots of potential for epic rides. Any of Newcastle, Tollymore Forest, Donard Wood or Rostrevor Forest are perfect locations to start and finish.

Getting There

Start / finish in either Newcastle or Rostrevor.

Trail Description

For further details (particularly of the Rostrevor end), contact the guys at Not The Sunday Run, or contact TrailBadger. A few suggested routes from the Not The Sunday Run guys are here:

Slieve Commedagh

Either hike up the steps to the saddle between Donard and Commedagh and then up summit of Commedagh, or cycle round the back via the Brandy Pad and then climb from the saddle.  Once at the summit aim for the ridge which runs parallel with Glen River heading down towards Donard Forest (Shan Slieve, and Slievenamaddy). 

The top section is hard packed grass then progressing to boggy heather so best attempted after good dry spell.  There is a hiking trail of some description but sometimes hard to pick out so following your nose can be the only option in places, aiming for far right of treeline below. 

Next section of open mountain is a boulder field which is passable with all your trials skills!  Be warned; the boulder field comes upon you quite abruptly and for many it will be a case of simply dismounting and scrambling down.  Point of entry into forest is far left of the tree line as you look down towards Donard Forest. 

A stile gets you over and then back on the bike and hit a world cup style rock garden.  Single track takes you to the top fire road just along from the third bridge.  From this point you can turn left and coast down the fire road to donard park car park or bomb down one of the many forest trails.

An epic big mountain spin - check out footage from the summit to fire road on Youtube - MTB Mournes Commedagh

Meelmore Lodge, Ott, Loughshannagh, Trassey Track

There are lots of options off this one, but it is a great start. Thanks to Rowan from Not the Sunday Run for the marked map and narrative.

Park at Meelmore Lodge

There are lots of options off this one, but it is a great start. Thanks to Rowan from Not the Sunday Run for the marked map and narrative.

Park at Meelmore Lodge.  Cycle / walk up the trail at the back of the lodge onto the Ulster Way and turn left onto the trail that leads up to Fofanny Dam.

Up along the side of Fofanny and out onto the road.

Up the main road and turn into the track that leads up to Ott. There is a car park on the RHS and a metal gate on the LHS – go through this.

Onto the Ott track – take the first Right – it is easy to miss – you don’t want to miss it!

Follow the track up the stony technical ascent and after a small walk at the top of the hill you will come to the stile.

Cross the stile and follow the path that leads out in front of you and veers to the left.

Follow this path round Slieve Loughshannagh and Slieve Meelbeg finally coming to the stile between Slieve Meelmore and Slieve Bearnagh. There are quite a few drops, rocky sections and deep pools of bog mud along this trail – you have been warned.

Cross the stile and go down the trail at Pollaphuca following it all the way down to the Trassey Track.

From here you have three options depending on how fresh you are feeling:

a) Continue down Trassey to the back entrance of Tollymore and do a loop of Tollymore

b) Turn left before going through the first gate you meet on the Trassey Track and head back to Meelmore Lodge for Coffee and buns

c) Go and do it all again!

Keep a lookout for the trail going down Pollaphuca - you can go off course easily but if you keep an eye on the trail there should be no problems.


trail head marker Trail Head

Movies of Mournes Epics, Down


Reviews for this trail

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  • Meelmore Lodge Epic - The perfect day out on the mountain bike when the weather is good, although not recommended for anyone who doesn't like pushing/carrying their bike from time to time!

    The run down from Ott Mountain is pretty good, although there are some boggy bits that can easily swallow a front wheel if you're not careful.

    The highlight has to be the last downhill from the saddle between Slieve Meelmore and Slieve Bearnagh. it's fast, rocky and a bit hairy in places! You also need to keep your eyes peeled for the trail through the top section, as it's easy to stray off it.

    Highly recommended if you fancy a day out in the 'wilds'. Will definitely do this route again in the summer (if we get one).
  • Carrying on certain sections is all part of the fun! Some areas can only be described as being akin to off-piste skiing as you can go where you like through the heather and never know if there are rocks...what a rush! The track from Lough Shannagh down to the Gamekeeper's Lodge is a fantastic top speed hammer where you've gotta go fast or be overcome by the sheer boulderiness of it all. After this you have a number of options, road between Pigeon and Slievemuck being the easiest way to gain height again. All these routes are for those who love a slog and a bit of a carry but revel in the isolation, technicality and surprised/shocked walkers' faces! Brill but make sure you're in good shape!
  • Meelmore Lodge Epic. I am not having a dig just passing on relevant information to save any one a journey down if you are not local. Me and a small group set off along the Mourne way. At the momment due to the winter and water running down from the surronding hill side most of the route is un rideable. Most of your journey would be walking. Best left alone until the summer. I have been riding and racing for the last 15 years so i know a good route from a bad one. I intend to get round most of your routes over the next 2 months. I think what you are doing is great for the scene over here.


  • Best to hook up with someone who knows the area as it is simply vast. A rugged location with ,on a good day, breathtaking views.

    The tracks are varied including fireroads, singletrack, and sheeps trials to no discernible track whatsoever.

    The kind of mountainbiking where you're not sure if you do it for training or train to do it!
  • what a great place. and pushing the bike is all part of the crack. the mournes ROCKS.
  • The Best Scenery.
    Wild Untamed riding(!)
    Long tough climbs.
    Thrilling Descents over some hairy terrain.

    1 mark down from a perfect score as I detest pushing a bike, and there will likely be carrying and/or pushing no matter what route you take.

NOTE: The trails on this site have been ridden before, but you should not interpret their inclusion as an indication that mountain-biking is officially sanctioned on them. Seeking permission from landowners is your own responsibility, as is conducting yourself in a manner that is courteous, respectful to the environment, and conscious of the safety of others.