Bernie Hyland, Estate duty manager and David Wilson, MD of Montalto Estate.
Montalto Estate, a five-star visitor experience aimed at reconnecting people with nature through the estate’s magnificent surroundings, is having a double celebration.
As well as celebrating its first year opened to visitors on September 21, the attraction has announced another addition to its offering, a new history trail revealing an ancient settlement site, the location of the famous Battle of Ballynahinch and a stunning viewpoint commanding a vista of the surrounding Co Down countryside.
The new History Trail provides 2.7km of wonderful woodland views, an array of wildlife and an opportunity to visit historic sites and to learn more about the history of Ballynahinch and the surrounding area.
Key highlights include:
Viewpoint – Edenavaddy Hill, a key interface during the Battle of Ballynahinch, offers an excellent vantage point to admire the scenic County Down countryside surrounding the estate.
The Battle of Ballynahinch Site – The battle took place during the Irish rebellion of 1798 between British forces led by Major-General George Nugent and the local United Irishmen led by Henry Munro (1758–98). Keep a look out to see if you can spot some soldiers and rebels taking up position near the battle site.
Ancient Settlement Site – Crowning Edenavaddy Hill and surrounded by beautiful woodland, the settlement site includes a well-preserved rath, the type of which were common in Ireland during the Early Medieval period.
Nature and Wildlife – Listen out for the soothing calls of wood pigeons, the frequent rasp of the raven and the eerie cry of the buzzard that are common on this walk, along with many varieties of plants and trees.
Owned by the Wilson family, the Montalto Estate visitor experience features public access to the estate’s gardens, historic walks and trails, an exciting tree house and natural play area for children, a welcome area featuring interpretation of the estate’s history, a stylish 120-seat café and a unique retail space. The attraction recently welcomed its 100,000th visitor and received a five-star visitor attraction grading from Tourism NI; all within one year of opening.
“We are delighted to open up yet another significant part of Montalto Estate for visitors to explore and enjoy,” said David Wilson, managing director at Montalto Estate. “Steeped in interesting history dating back hundreds of years, we are proud that we can now share more of this with our visitors.
“While the new history trail is a little more challenging in places, walkers will be rewarded with a snapshot into the past as well as a scenic viewpoint over Ballynahinch town and the surrounding area. Along with our existing assets, our new trail simply adds to the unique visitor experience at Montalto. The team very much look forward to welcoming new and returning visitors and we trust that they will have a very memorable experience with us.”
Ken Dawson, local teacher, historian and author, said: “It is important to recognise the significance of Montalto Estate in our local history and the launch of this new trail featuring the Battle of Ballynahinch certainly helps to mark this fact.
“It is fantastic that people can now see for themselves where the Battle of Ballynahinch took place. This is a must-see experience for those interested in this historical period. The owners have done a wonderful job opening the space up to visitors and I would encourage everyone to come and see it for themselves.”
Montalto Estate opening hours are Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-4pm.