Life

Weekend walk: Castlewellan Forest Park Cypress Pond

Fergal Hallahan

Castlewellan Forest Park has more than 7.5 miles of walking trails

Area: Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Distance: 3.1miles circular.

Map: Sheet 29 of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discoverer Series available from Land & Property Services osni.gov.uk or www.nidirect.gov.uk/map-shop-information.

Nearest town to start: Castlewellan.

Facilities: Parking, toilet and café facilities are all available within Castlewellan Forest Park

Developed by: Outdoor Recreation NI and maintained by Forest Service NI.

Terrain: Moderate walk taking place on both gravel and uneven paths through woodland with some steep climbs and descents which may be unsuitable for those with limited mobility.

Walk Description: Castlewellan Forest Park has more than 7.5 miles of walking trails featuring breath-taking views to the Mourne Mountains as well as some of the oldest and rarest trees in the British Isles.

For the Cypress Pond walk, follow the waymakers from the trail head to the end of the lake, passing the ice house, a round stone building which overlooks the castle. Having reached the end of the lake, leave the main lakeside path and follow the trail as it begins to climb, winding its way to the right through mature trees.

Continue along the trail as it climbs somewhat parallel to Castlewellan lake. Reaching the top you will be rewarded with a tranquil view of the Cypress Pond. The path leads you around the pond before descending through the trees back to the lake shore. Pick up the path here and follow it back to the trailhead. This return route to the car park offers expansive views of the lake, castle and the historic open parkland.

Pack a picnic and enjoy a well-deserved sit down back at one of the picnic benches before seeing who can navigate their way to the centre of the Peace Maze the quickest. Perfect for the kids, a brand new play structure has recently been installed in the forest park. ‘Animal Wood' is designed for four-to-11-year-olds and is located beside the Peace Maze.

For those looking to make a day of it and explore more of the forest park on two wheels or from the water, Life Adventure Centre, located at the trail head, offer both mountain bike and canoe hire from the Grange Courtyard.

Responsible Walking: Please remember to practice the principles of 'Leave No Trace' when enjoying the outdoors in order to minimise your impact on the environment. For more information, visit www.leavenotraceireland.org

Disclaimer: This information has been provided by WalkNI.com in association with The Irish News. Every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information. However, neither WalkNI.com nor The Irish News can accept responsibility for errors or omissions. Where such are brought to our attention, the information for future publications will be amended accordingly.

:: Visit WalkNI.com for route descriptions, maps, and transport and facility information for over 240 quality walks across Northern Ireland.

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