Public Information

Blackhead Path

Blackhead Path

The latest updates on Blackhead Path works.

Update 21 October 2019 The latest newsletter from FP McCann on Blackhead Path (PDF 486KB)
Update 1 October 2019

Blackhead Path works moves into stabilisation of cliffs.

The multi-million-pound project at Blackhead Path is moving into the second section of the work which will restore and protect the coastal walkway.

This section of work is focused on the stabilisation of the cliff faces and repairs to the coastal network. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council are reminding everyone that this is a construction site and there will be no access to the path.

Read more on our news pages.

Update 24 September 2019 The latest newsletter from FP McCann on Blackhead Path (PDF 439KB)
Update 16 September 2019
Update 16 August 2019 The latest newsletter from FP McCann on Blackhead Path (PDF 495KB)
Update 15 August 2019

Footage of the ongoing works show it to be well underway to getting this walk back open and secured for generations to come.

Update 8 August 2019

Works are progressing well on the upper path of section A with the works moving north, with the fencing works also ongoing.

Approximately 50% of the Toe-Stones are also now in place to anchor the rock armour for the new promenade, undertaken by Ashleigh Contracts, the specialist marine subcontractor.

Blackhead Path works - August 2019 Blackhead Path works - August 2019 Blackhead Path works - August 2019

Update 24 July 2019

Serious damage has been caused to heavy machinery on-site to restore the Blackhead path.

Update 18 July 2019

F.P.McCann Newsletter: Issue 2

Update 21 June 2019

F.P.McCann Newsletter: Issue 1

Update 20 June 2019

Blackhead Path is now a live construction site with heavy machinery & structural work underway. Please respect the fences & workers, any breaches will seriously risk your safety & potentially disrupt works. Huge thanks for your patience so far!

Blackhead Path works Blackhead Path works

Update 6 June 2019 Update from appointed contractor, FP McCann.
Update 15 May 2019

Blackhead Path works to start

Multi-million pounds works to restore and protect Blackhead Path are set to get underway in June.

The project will see repair works carried out in stages over the next year to allow the thousands of visitors who enjoy this area each year, to explore the entire path in all its glory.

The contractor, FP McCann, has been appointed to complete the works. AECOM have also been integral to the plans which include repairs along the coastal paths from the Old Castle Road right up to the lighthouse and new steps and handrails.

Work to restore the Golden Steps was completed earlier this year and two new community noticeboards have been erected in Whitehead for information on the progress to be shared with locals and visitors alike. These are located near the path car park and outside the Whitehead Community Association.

Read the full story in our news section.

Update 9 April 2019

Following the tendering process, which was extended by 2 weeks after the applicants requested more time, an award letter has been issued to a contractor for acceptance. Meetings are due to take place with the contractor this week to confirm work schedules and start date for works. Council has continued to carry out environmental licensing and access work with relevant organisations and residents. Repairs to the upper path and Golden Steps have been completed. Noticeboards are nearly finished production and will be installed in the coming weeks with full information displayed on them about the works. Local businesses in the Whitehead area have been delivered 3000 pocket guides detailing the works involved to get the path reopened. 

Update 13 February 2019

DAERA recently carried out a ‘Baseline Study and Gap Analysis of Coastal Erosion in Northern Ireland’ which was jointly commissioned with the Department for Infrastructure. The study was designed to identify key issues to inform consideration of the way forward in the area of coastal erosion. For more information visit our news section.

Update 8 February 2019

The tendering process is now underway for works to repair Blackhead Path. We are now awaiting submissions from a number of contractors. Once received and marked, we can appoint the successful company by April for work to begin.

The path from the Golden Steps to McCrea’s Brae is a public right of way on foot.

We would urge the public to pay attention to the safety signs in place due to continued rock fall. We appreciate your patience.

Plans of the upcoming works will be given to local businesses and residents in the coming weeks to keep them all informed.

Update 7 February 2019

Work to the Golden Steps is now complete.

Update 7 December 2018

Planning permission has now been granted for works on Blackhead Path. View the full story on our news pages.

A list of contractors who passed the first stage of the appointment process is now being drawn up for the tender to go live in January. Work to restore the Golden Steps has started and should be completed by the New Year.

The recent bad weather saw more rockfall along the path, further movement of 30mm and complete collapse of the bridge on the upper section. New fencing and signs highlighting the dangers of the collapsing path area are now in place to prevent the public from getting on to the dangerous areas. We would urge the public to pay attention to these signs as safety is paramount. We appreciate your patience.

Council are also pulling together plans of the upcoming works to give out to local businesses and residents to keep them all informed.

Update 5 December 2018

Work is well underway on the Golden Steps. The contractor is aiming for these to be completed by the end of December. Thanks to Blackhead Preservation Society for sharing the images. 

Update 29 November 2018

A contractor for work to fix the Golden Steps has been appointed and is due on site on 28 November. It’s hoped that work will be completed by Christmas if the weather calms down. The main contractor for the overall works is yet to be appointed but it’s hoped that planning permissions and licensing will come through in the new year in time for work to start in the Spring for the entire path. New fencing is going in to help restrict access to only the residents along the section which is failing. In the bad weather (Storm Diana) further rock fall has happened as well as the 30cm movement so please don’t disregard the signs and fencing in place, it is for your safety.

Council are working with The Blackhead Preservation Society to help promote lots of exciting events happening in the beautiful coastal town of Whitehead, and beyond, before the path reopens again to its hundreds of thousands of visitors. Parts are still closed, as the path has moved 30cm in the past year, so please keep that in mind if you’re planning a trip to Whitehead. Council are launching a marketing campaign in the New Year to highlight what’s happening with the works and to promote the area.

If you’re a local group who would be interested in funding activities in the area check out what grants are available from council here and from DAERA here.

Update 15 October 2018

The first stage of procuring a contractor for Blackhead Path is underway.

The pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) has been issued and a shortlist will be drawn up from successful applicants to tender for stage two. The PQQ stage closes on 9 November 2018 and it can be viewed on our Tenders page.

Update 14 September 2018

Video presentation from the public meeting on Blackhead Path

Update: 17 August 2018

Latest update from the structural engineer's report:

Extract from structural engineer's report on Blackhead Path

Update - 16 August 2018

Press Release issued: Council warning walkers not to ignore Blackhead Path signs

Damage to the Blackhead Path walkway

Update - 9 August 2018

Public Meeting

Thursday 23 August 2018 at 7.30pm in Whitehead Methodist Church Hall (on the corner of Balmoral Avenue and Edward Road).

The Director of Operations and council officers will be there to update on the progress to date.

Update - 6 August 2018

A section of Blackhead Path has been closed from Whitehead Car Park to the Old Castle Road. This is due to serious safety concerns caused by subsidence. Experts have advised council that further subsidence has been identified along the path, and left us with no choice other than to prevent access to that part of the route until further notice. The additional damage may have been caused by extreme weather which hit Northern Ireland last weekend – resulting in a month of rainfall landing in the space of several hours on Saturday. The path has moved 30cms in the last year and, more significantly, 17cms in the last month. Large cracks along the path wall have also been identified, indicating likely structural failure of the concrete wall and possible collapse.

The path was previously closed to vehicles and the latest move is to safeguard pedestrians. Substantial funding has already been set aside by council for major investment works at Blackhead Path. Council is currently engaged with a project team to design and oversee those remedial works and the repairs began earlier this year, with plans to resolve the issue being put together over the coming months.