Cave Hill Country Park (Antrim)
Cave Hill Country Park offers some nice panoramic views across Belfast and waymarked walking trails suitable for casual walkers or more serious ramblers.
The country park includes Cave Hill Adventurous Playground, archaeological sites, Cave Hill Visitor Centre, an eco-trail, gardens, orienteering routes, and refreshments in Belfast Castle.
Its most famous feature, known as ‘Napoleon’s Nose’ is a basaltic outcrop which resembles the profile of the famous emperor Napoleon.
The park is named after caves located on the side of the cliffs, and there are three large man-made caves thought to have been originally excavated for iron-mining.
Adjacent to the lowest cave is ‘The Devil’s Punchbowl’, also sometimes called ‘The Devil’s Cauldron’, a site where ancient Celtic farmers corralled their cattle. This consists mainly of a steep hill, mainly of rocks and boulders, and is considered dangerous to amateurs.
McArt’s Fort on the summit of the hill is an example of an old ráth or ring fort protected on one side by a precipice and on the others by a single ditch, 10 feet (3.0 m) in depth and 25 feet (7.6 m) in width. The enclosed area is nearly level. It is believed that the fort’s inhabitants used the caves to store white foods for the winter and may have served as a refuge during times of attack.
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