Located in the heart of the Boyne Valley, Navan and the surrounding area offers a host a scenic routes and some of the world’s most mythical landscapes, and what better way to explore them by bike? From short family cycles, to discovering adventures alongside ancient castles and heritage sites, to longer spins over a mix of challenging terrains, cycling in the Navan area has it all.
Short, Family Friendly Cycles
Boyne Ramparts, Navan
Distance: 8km one way, 16km return.
Options: Double back along the route, or take the Boyne Road
The Ramparts in Navan is one of the most well-known attractions in the town. They form part of the planned Boyne Greenway, and start from Andy Brennan Park and run for a total of 8km out to the Broadboyne/Stackallen Bridge. Following the trial of the old towpath which dates back to the 1750s, it is a beautiful route along the River Boyne with mixed woodland and lots of wildlife on offer. There is a host of historic sites to view including Dunmoe Castle, Ardmulchan Castle, Ardmulchan Church and the remains of the canal locks at Rowley’s Lock and Taaffe’s Lock. The surface is rough, with a lot of heavy stones and uneven, narrow surfaces, particularly at the Stackallen end, so a road bike isn’t advised. Coming back, you can choose to double back along the route and see what you missed, or take the beautiful Boyne Road (can be quiet, but caution is advised) back toward the town centre.
Blackwater Park, Navan
Distance: 1.4km loop, options to extend
Options: Cyclocross track in the centre; woodland & river routes
Blackwater Park in Navan offers a nice 1.4km route on tarmac, making it a family-friendly spin for all ages with some nice views of Navan town centre. Running by playgrounds, football pitches, the River Blackwater, the old mill and a mixture of trees, it has something for everyone. The Cyclocross track in the centre offers a selection of additional off-road paths and hills to explore, with the ‘ridge’ in the centre a challenge for everyone! There are also a number of rough paths which run under the trees on the east side, and also down to the river. There are plans to link it up to the new Boyne Valley to Lakeland’s County Greenway, and a new distributor road is being built just inside the west boundary of the park which will include new pedestrian and cycling access to the Kells Road.
Old Railway Line Route, Navan
Distance: 2.7km loop
Recent upgrades to a well worn route starting at St Columbus Crescent – beside the Beaufort and Scoil Eanna entrances – and running along the old railway track to Kilcarn Court has opened up a nice walking and cycling loop. Running through quiet estates and quiet roads, it is perfect for all ages, but be careful of traffic on Swan Lane and Dublin Road.
Boyne Ramparts, North Bank, Navan
Please note: access to this area has in recent times been restricted. As well known as the Ramparts route is, the North Bank is often largely forgotten about. Despite this, it has a nice selection of tracks which are great to explore on the bike. Accessible via Blackcastle Demense (with another entry point further up the Slane Road), there is an old water station down by the river, and from there the path diverges to a lower route alongside the river (unsteady surface, off-road bikes only), or a higher route which leads through some nice woodland area. Both bring you out by Red River Yoga, where the route continues for about 500m. There it appears to end, however, for the more adventurous, you can find your way down the hill through the trees to the riverbank and continue further along to exit at Dunmoe Castle.
Navan to Hill of Tara + Dunsany, Kilmessan, Bective
Options: Cycle around Killeen Castle & Dunsany Nature Reserve
The world-famous Hill of Tara is only 12km from Navan, making it an ideal destination for a fun cycle. Setting out from Navan, take the Dublin Road alongside the River Boyne (on which we hope to see new cycle lanes soon) as far as the Old Bridge Inn, then up the hill to Old Balreask Woods and out a beautiful, quiet road past Boynehill and across the Boyne itself by Bellinter. From there, follow the route to the top of the Hill of Tara and enjoy the views, enjoying a coffee and cake at Maguires. Descending southward, turn left at Belper Cross for Dunsany. In Dunsany, take the right for Kilmessan (or optionally, go left to explore the charming roads by Dunsany Nature Reserve and Killeen Castle). Follow the road through Kilmessan and Bective, crossing the famous Bective Bridge and Abbey, then across the Trim Road to Robinstown. From there its a straight run back to Navan on the Commons Road.
Navan to Newgrange & Battle of the Boyne
Distance: 25km one way, 50km return
We’re lucky to have such sites within easy cycling distance of Navan. Older than the Egyptian pyramids, the world famous Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site is a truly special place. This route is created as one way, with the return journey being made back along the same road, but there are alternatives which you can see below. Starting out from Navan, take the beautiful Boyne Road alongside the River Boyne until you reach the N2, then continue straight. From there, the road gradually leads you to the bend at the Brú na Bóinne site, visible on the left. The road is generally quiet, allowing you to enjoy the views. After Newgrange, a slow climb leads up to the village of Donore, and you then take two lefts to bring you on the winding road toward Oldbridge and the Battle of the Boyne. When you reach the river, the road narrows and the path widens to form a part of the Boyne Greenway for a few hundred metres, leading you to the entrance gates to the Battle of the Boyne site. There, it is an ideal setting to explore the grounds, have a picnic or grab a coffee. There’s lots to see including Oldbridge House and the Battle of the Boyne visitor centre, the Walled Garden and walks around the grounds. After that, you have several options to explore and set your return journey. The safest way is back along the same road there, as the N51 Slane Road is extremely dangerous to cycle and should be avoided when possible. Alternatively, Drogheda is only 4km further on to the east, so you could take enjoy the Boyne Greenway all the way, or you could head north along the Townly Hall Road.
Navan to Slane Climbs
Options: Skip the hills!
A spin to Slane should be top of any adventurous cyclists list looking to explore the hills surrounding one of Ireland’s most famous villages. From Navan, head out the beautiful Boyne Road until you hit the N2 (caution advised for 2km, 100km road), then head toward Slane and the Slane Bridge, with spectacular views of the River Boyne. You pass Slane Castle on the left, which is a great place to stop and explore the castle grounds or grab a bite! Continuing north, the first challenging hill climb (approx 1.5km, 9% max gradient) brings you through the village itself, then left at the L5603. A long straight road will bring you to Grangegeeth Cross Roads, and, continuing north, the second tough climb (approx 1.4km, 11.5% max gradient). Northwards brings you over some exciting rolling hills before turning left at Leaby Cross, and another left further on at Rathbran. This brings you southward up Slieve Bengh, also known as Creewood Hill (Strava segment here), the third highest peak in Meath, and a tough as climb you will find anywhere in the county. Short, at just 1.2km, it maxes out at 18% gradient with an average of 10%. You may need a rest! South brings you back some nice hills in the direction of Slane, turning on the R163 toward Gormanlough, and some nice looping roads back to the Proudstown Road and Navan.