On Water


Coasteering is a relatively new outdoor activity growing in participation and interest. It combines skills and abiliies of climber, jumper and of course swimmer.


Coasteering is a relatively new outdoor activity growing in participation and interest. It combines skills and abiliies of climber, jumper and of course swimmer. A fear of heights and or water could be a disadvantage but this activity is known to build confidence and overcomes these fears. It is considered to be very much a gruop and sociable activity and is more enjoyable when sharing this way. Safe techniques and practice are essential, consequently the greater part of any involvement is done through and with activity providers who are specialists in this challenging and exhilerating recreation.


In our area the sea cliffs at Ballyhornan are very popular and a favourite being  the main focal point for this exciting sport. To a lesser extent and not as challenging  the coast at Bangor and Ballywalter have some scope also and would be more convenient for travelling out of the Belfast area.

The  experience of the jumps at Ballyhornan are  made all the  more interesting by the nature of the rock formations, the jumps are plentiful and demand more committment. The swimming in channels, current and cave is all part of the challenge. Dare to experience the Devil’s Cauldron and the Plank!


There is some off road car parking at Ballyhornan and cliff top access connects the coasteering area, Public Toilets are available on  Rocks Road.  

General Area  

Ballyhornan lies six miles south of Strangford and four miles north of Ardglass. It is a small village by the sea with a picturesque beach surrounded by cliffs. Immediately offshore in the bay is Guns Island. When a clear day on the horizon it is possible to see the Isle of Man.

Ballyhornan beach is located on the Lecale Way. The beach is a favoured spot for dog walkers and horse riders.

The village has a colourful past as during World War II the RAF built billets to accommodate military personnel who worked at the nearby Bishopscourt air base. While the RAF were operational, it was a hub of activity with its own cinema, dance hall, shops and services providing jobs for the local community.

Additional Information

Good Practice & Safety

Whether a relatively small or larger group, the potential hazards remain much the same. Experience, knowledge and a local understanding of the coasteering site are paramount for good practice and safe participation in the activity. The inherent challenges come from the sea state, tide, current and wind,  points of steep access and adequate exits from the sea. The conditions on the day must be managable and meet the abilities of the group.

The sport of Coasteering has a Code of Practise which can be downloaded below

Enjoy the outdoors and stay safe!

stay safe – endeavor to follow the ‘Best practice safety guidance for coasteering providers’‘Base level skills and competences for coasteering guides’ which have been developed by the National Water Safety Forum and National Coasteering Charter group with input and advice from 120 coasteering businesses UK wide to help you and your groups to stay safe.

Clubs, Opportunities, Disability Access

Opportunities to be introduced and participate in this activity are best found through the services of accredited providers. There are several organisations or companies delivering  specialist group activities.  Appropriate equipment and supervision are part of this including wet suits, buoyancy aids and safety helmets. 

Some of the main Coasteering providers are :

Care for our Coast

As this activity requires the scrambling and climbing in locations which provide for free-fall jumping into the sea then this can cause localised wear and tear to the terrain. Physical abrasion to soft surface over-laying soils and eroding paths can also cause damage to the local coastal and sea-cliff flora. Routes to the jump off points should be kept to a minimum and prevent this damage wherever possible 

The presence and prooximity of people and nesting birds in this environment can create localised, disturbance issues. Nesting Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Shags, Gulls, Rock Pipits –  are present on our sea cliffs in coasteering areas.  Proximity to sites should be avoided in the nesting season April-July   

 It would be advisable for Coasteering Interests to seek ecological advice on any potential. local impacts, particulalrly with respect to sensitive cliiff vegetation, caves for bats, seals and vegetation and nesting birds. Impacts or issues could be mapped to alert users to any sensitivities.   


Scoping study into the potential environment al impacts of coasteering in Pembrokeshire   
Anthony Rodgers National Trust        

Activity Pembrokeshire (2010) Coasteering Website. Available from;   

British Coasteering Federation (2010) Coasteering Website. Available from; 

Celtic Quest Coasteering (2010) Family Coasteering Website. Available from;

Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Coasteering on Rocky Intertidal Habitats in Wales