Type of Walk ArrowsDistanceGrading Estimated Time
Linear WalkYellow10 kmModerate2 -3 hours

This 10km linear walk joins an old 17th century road at the half way mark. Known as the Bridle Road (or the Butter Road), this old green lane stretches from Kilbronogue to the Mill House near Schull. It is advisable to wear walking boots except in very dry weather.

This walk is mostly along quiet country roads. The off-road section from (8) to (10) is private land. Please respect the landowner’s kindness and close all gates and stay on the designated paths. The walk is about 10km long and is a “moderate” walk which takes 2-3 hours depending on your pace.

You’ll find on the Butter Road Walk great views of Mount Gabriel as the walker goes west and there is a river crossing at the Schull end where the stepping stones may be slippery. (If the river is flooded please use the safe walk-bridge provided.)

From Ballydehob to Schull

The route is marked with amber coloured arrows which you need to look out for.

Starting at the Trailhead (1) you walk south alongside the water and under the 12 arch bridge soon veering right and up a gentle hill. Pass under the single arch railway bridge and you’ll see the school to your right as you reach a cross-roads (2)

Turn LEFT here and walk along a winding country lane (Greenmount road) for about 1.5km when you will see a road branching off left (3) into some woodland which you can ignore. Continue STRAIGHT ON for about 1.5km more along a quite good road which can be quite busy. You now approach a cross-roads (4) and you need to turn sharp RIGHT uphill, almost doubling back on yourself. 

You’ll be climbing steadily now for about 0.8km and after the road levels off you’ll see Stouke Burial Ground on your right. A good place to take a rest and explore for a few minutes. 

Continuing north for about 0.5km you come to a junction (5) and need to turn LEFT walking gently uphill for about 0.5km and past an old farm on a bend in the road. 50m after the farm buildings is a public road to the LEFT (6) which you ignore. 

The road continues, falling gently as you proceed between hedges to reach a cross roads (7) where you continue STRAIGHT ON. The road rises steadily now and soon levels off, passing a few houses and farms and in less than a kilometre, you’ll see a road going off to the right amid some rather neglected farm outhouses. Just past the farm the road swings sharp left (8) but ahead is a farm track down which you should proceed. This is part of the old Butter Road which you have been following for the last few kilometres but it is no longer maintained for traffic. 

For more on the Old Butter Road click here.

Continue on this track for nearly a kilometre dropping to start with but then rising gently to a cross roads (9) where a public road intersects the track. Go STRAIGHT ON again and follow the track through the countryside until you come to a well-maintained farm. This is private land so please show respect to the landowner, close gates as appropriate and obey the country code. 

Courtesy Roaringwater Journal

Don’t deviate into the farm yard, stay on the track and continue gently uphill, passing an old tractor on your left and starting the long descent towards Schull. After a further kilometre you reach a wide stream over which there were once stepping stones, but as there is now a new footbridge you don’t have to risk getting wet feet. 

You now cross a small field and exit into a lane through a gate which must be closed behind you. Follow the track downhill beside the stream and soon you reach the public road (10). If you have time to spare, it is worthwhile to turn left and go down to the bridge where the views of the harbour, old mill and waterwheel are rewarding. There is also a gallery exhibiting some fine wildlife photographs which you might find tempting. 

Returning to the junction carry on towards Schull and after a few bends in the road you will see water on your left and the N71 ahead (11). Now follow the sidewalk all the way to Schull and just past the Harbour View Hotel, you will see the Schull Trailhead on the roadside. You can now return to Ballydehob by bus or of course on foot – guidelines for the return journey overleaf. 

From Schull to Ballydehob

The route is marked with amber coloured arrows which you need to look out for. 

The walk starts at the Trailhead in Schull (12) from which you walk down the hill past the hotel, past the Garda station and finally alongside the strand (beach) until you reach a turn to the RIGHT (11) 

After leaving the main road, the road curves to the left, rising over a small hill and as it descends again you will see a stony track leading off to the left at a bend in the road. (10) 

Follow the track gently uphill and quite soon pass though a gateway into a small field. At the end of the field you will see a footbridge crossing the stream. Take care here as it can be slippery. The track now climbs steadily uphill for about 1km and when it levels out you might see an old tractor amongst the brambles. Soon after you see some farm buildings to your left but you continue STRAIGHT ON and go through a farm gate ahead. 

Courtesy Roaringwater Journal

Continue along the track and you come to a house on the left and a cross-roads (9) where a public road crosses your route. Continue STRAIGHT ON, descending gently. The track can be a bit muddy here depending on how much farm traffic has passed along recently, but it soon starts to rise again and you emerge at a bend in the public road (8)

Go STRAIGHT ON here and pass a side road on the left amongst farm buildings. The road soon levels off and starts to descend gently between hedges until you reach a junction (7) where a larger road crosses your route.

Again go STRAIGHT ON and the road climbs for a short while and you’ll see a side road (6) going off to your right which you ignore. 

Almost immediately after the junction the road swings fairly sharply left past some old farm buildings and descends for about half a kilometre. Look out for a side road to the RIGHT (5) which turns back sharply and go up here for about half a kilometre to reach Stouke burial ground on your left. This is well worth a visit before you continue your way, downhill now, round a couple of tight bends, to reach a large cross-roads (4) where you need to turn sharp LEFT, almost doubling back on yourself. 

Courtesy Roaringwater Journal

The road you are on now is heading North towards Ballydehob and can be quite busy at times. After a long sweeping bend the road straightens and you’ll see a sideroad to your right opposite an old shed. Keep going straight on and soon the road sweeps left with views out to Ballydehob bay. Now follow Greenmount Road just over 1km until you reach the cross roads where the school is located(2). Here you can turn RIGHT to bring you back to the trailhead or continue straight on to reach the village where refreshments no doubt are awaiting you in one of the many fine cafés and pubs.