Weekend Walk: Tobar Mhuire Heritage Trail
Area: Co Down.
Distance: 1.9 miles circular.
Map: Sheet 21 of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discoverer Series available from Land & Property Services osni.gov.uk or nidirect.gov.uk/map-shop-information.
Nearest town to start: Crossgar.
Facilities: Car parking at the start of walk. Toilets and gift shop in Tobar Mhuire Retreat Centre.
Developed By: Outdoor Recreation NI; maintained by Tobar Mhuire Retreat.
Terrain: Compact gravel paths which are suitable for those with buggies.
Walk Description: Take some time out to experience the peace and tranquility that awaits you on a walk at Tobar Mhuire, set in 55 acres of woodland in the heart of Crossgar.
Beginning your walk from the car park behind the walled garden just off the Killyleagh Road, follow the waymarkers in an anticlockwise direction. Reaching the driveway, cross the road and pick up the gravel path again. As you walk, look in the corner of the ornamental lawn for the foundations of a Second World War Nissen Hut dating back to when Tobar Mhuire (now a retreat and conference centre run by the Passionist Community) was home to British and American troops. A series of interpretation panels along the way will help you to unlock the fascinating history of the site.
Continue to follow the path as it leads you through an area of dense rhododendron to ‘Mary's Well' (a holy well). Listen out for the sound of pecking by the great spotted woodpecker overhead in the treetops.
The trail winds its way back uphill to the seated viewpoint area where you can enjoy spectacular views across the Co Down countryside to the Mourne Mountains and Slieve Croob. The benches, made from a sedimentary (layered) rock called Liscannor Stone, were brought specially from a quarry in Doolin, Co Clare. Follow the trail through the trees as it descends downhill back to the car park.
Once you have finished the walk visit the Walled Garden. The garden, newly restored pond and impressive Victorian glasshouse are at the rear of the newly extended retreat and conference centre.
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.
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