Ways

Descriptions with maps, travel details, distances, physical difficulty of walks and other ways to explorer the great outdoors and have yourself a “Grand Day Out”

Errigal Glen and the Gortnamoyah Inauguration Stone

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TYPECircular walk through deciduous glen and gorge, then road walking, with ancient church, souterrain and conifer plantation with Clan Inauguration Stone
DISTANCE2.3 miles / 3.7 km
SURFACESUndulating natural woodland paths, asphalt roads and forest tracks. Can be muddy in places.
HEIGHT GAIN / LOSS230 feet climb
HAZARDS
  • Unguarded drops along gorge
  • away from path
  • section walking on ‘B’ road with one blind hill requiring extra care

This short walk features a great diversity of attractions. The deciduous glen and gorge woodland is a beautiful mix of mature planted beech on the level ground and native species populating the steep sides. The glen is part of the grounds of the Grade II listed Ballintemple House (once described as a ‘Thatched Hunting Lodge’ when owned by the Bishop of Derry) which dates from the late 1700’s. An ancient graveyard and church ruin associated with St Adamnon (of Iona fame) is visited. Adjacent to this is a Souterrain and further along the route, in the section through Gortnamoyagh forest, you visit a low hill with a clan Inauguration Stone .

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Ely and Carrickreagh Woods

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TYPELakeside and deciduous woodland walk with views over Lough Erne and Green Turlogh
DISTANCE6.1 miles / 9.8 km
SURFACESMostly well made woodland tracks with some less defined path walking
HEIGHT GAIN / LOSS530 feet climb
HAZARDSMajor road crossing, proximity to water and disused quarry

Walking in lakeland sounds attractive, but is actually very difficult. Lower Lough Erne alone has well over 125 miles of shoreline – but only a minute fraction of this is available to walkers. Also the best ‘lakeland’ walking is often on hills with views over the water – think of the English Lake District. So a good lakeland walk needs actual lakeside paths and hills with lake views. Ely and Carrickreagh Woods have both! In addition, this walk passes through some glorious semi-mature beech and larch wood and visits a beautiful hidden valley with Turloughs (vanishing limestone based lakes!)

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The Oaks of Crom Estate

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TYPECircular walk through the estate visiting mature oak woodland, oak parkland and a wooded island with mixed woodland.
DISTANCE5.2 miles / 8.2 km
SURFACESMostly well made compacted surfaces with gentle slopes. Inisherk section and parts of Culliaghs wood soft underfoot in places.
HEIGHT GAIN / LOSS400 feet climb
HAZARDSSome walking on estate roads. Some walking on difficult soft ground.

We are told that Ireland was once an island covered in great forests and in those forests the mighty oak was the dominant tree. Today this is hard to envisage with oaks a rarity, generally confined to rocky ravines like the Ness Woods or Roe Valley Country Park. Even in these places they tend to be small with limited canopies. This walk in glorious Crom estate looks at alternative oak woodlands which hint at the possible true ancient landscape of Ireland.

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Murlough Bay (under Fair Head)

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TYPECoastal loop walk mainly on tracks but with short rough shore section (easy linear option). Significant climb required.
DISTANCE 3.5 miles / 5.6 km
SURFACESMostly well made compacted surfaces with variable slopes except for short rough coastal section (no path)
HEIGHT GAIN / LOSS900 feet climb (linear option extra 100 feet)
HAZARDS
  • Exposed isolated area with no mobile phone signal
  • Optional shore section rough and slippy
  • (no path)
  • Road walking on steep, narrow, but very low traffic road

Murlough Bay is one of our wildest and most beautiful places. If we had National Parks, this area should be part of one. However, it is not pristine wilderness – its rocks, woods and plains tell a story of long human occupation, farming, mining and spirituality – all adding richness to the fascination of this unique place.

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