Brand New Walking Trails Open in Castlewellan


Brand new walking trails were officially launched today in Castlewellan Forest Park & Bunkers Hill featuring breath-taking views to the Mourne Mountains as well as some of the oldest and rarest existing trees in the British Isles.

Totalling 7.5 miles (12 kilometers), the new walk trail network takes in many of the key points of interest in the park including the Annesley Garden and Arboretum as well as maximising the iconic views of the Mourne Mountains from the summit of Slievenaslat.

New trails have been constructed and some existing trails have been upgraded to create the five walk trails in the new trail network all of which are signposted from the Lakeside Car Park:

Slievenaslat Walk 2.7 miles

This steep climb through the forest is most definitely worth it providing a series of stunning viewpoints offering panoramic views of the Mourne Mountains and surrounding drumlin landscape of Co Down.  The most strenuous walk in the Park, the walk follows the north side of the lake before starting the steep climb to the summit of Slievenaslat (272 metres). 

Moorish Tower Walk 3.2. miles

The walk circumnavigates Castlewellan Lake before a short steep climb uphill brings you to the Moorish Tower.  When designed, this 'tea house' would have provided a fine vista across the Lake.  A steep descent leads back to the lake shore.

Annesley Garden Walk 2.2 miles

Beginning at Castlewellan Lake this trail journeys through the Annesley Gardens, National Arborteum and takes in a variety of Lakes and Ponds within the forest.  Follow the waymarkers along Lime Avenue until reaching the Annesley Garden and National Arboretum.  There is then the option to choose either a short route back (1.1 mile total) or further explore the Park (2.2 mile total) by continuing uphill to circle the Duck Pond and Mitchell's Lake.

Lakeside Walk 2.4 miles

This walk circumnavigates Castlewellan Lake providing good views of Slievenaslat and Castlewellan Castle.  Starting at the Lakeside Car Park, the trail follows the southern shore of the lake before winding steeply uphill.  A narrow track leads to the Moorish Tower now hidden in the trees.  When designed, this 'tea house' would have provided a fine vista across the Lake.  A steep descent leads back to the lake shore.

Cyprus Pond Walk 3.1 miles

Beginning at Castlewellan Lake this trail winds its way uphill through mature trees to offer a tranquil view of Cypress Pond.

The trails have been developed by Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland in partnership with Down District Council and Forest Service Northern Ireland and were designed by renowned trail designer Dafydd Davis MBE following consultation with the local community and forest visitors. 

The Peace Maze (one of the largest permanent hedge mazes in the world) within the park has also had a refurbishment and is definitely worth a visit when exploring the new trails on foot.

Less than one mile away from Castlewellan Forest Park, Bunkers Hill in Castlewellan has also been given a new lease of life with the launch of a brand new 1.2 mile (2kilometre) walking and family cycling trail as well as a Play Trail consisting of a variety of play structures made entirely from wood.  The trail climbs steadily to afford walkers 3 stunning views of Slieve Croob and surrounding countryside, Dundrum Bay and Mourne Mountains.  With seating provided at various points along the trail there is plenty of opportunity to stop and admire the views!   

For more information, click here.